While Cromwell’s annual two-day meeting ‘Racing In The Vines’ won’t have the same carnival atmosphere as it usually does as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Riverton trainer Kelvin Tyler is looking forward to heading north this week nonetheless.
Normally it’s a chance for Tyler and his hardworking Southland team to let their hair down with a typically student-based crowd celebrating the end of their university exams.
However, with the region still under Level 2 restrictions, there will be no General Admission this year, putting a dampener on what is usually a jovial atmosphere.
“It is my favourite race meeting of the whole year,” said Tyler, who trains in partnership with his daughter Aimee.
“It has got a really good atmosphere and it is a nice place to be racing over the two days up there.
“It is normally a fun weekend away and we take all of our staff and try to make it a fun weekend for everyone.”
While the usual festivities will be missing, Tyler is still looking forward to taking a handful of runners north on Friday to compete on the opening day.
Group Three performer He’s Got Power is set to contest the Clare Memorial Central Otago Cup (1220m), however, Tyler said he is still playing with the idea of focusing solely on the second day of the meeting with the last start winner.
“It was a good run last start,” Tyler said. “I am in two minds as to whether I run him or save him for the last day.
“We will just see what the track is like when I get up there.”
While he is undecided about whether He’s Got Power will be seen on the first day, Tyler is excited about the prospects of three-year-old filly Hyspec in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1400m).
“She has got a lot of ability but she is pretty highly strung and has had a few issues. Hopefully we have sorted them out,” Tyler said.
“Ability-wise she has got tonnes of it, we have just got to find a way to get it out of her.”
Four-year-old gelding No Quarter Asked will contest the Alexandra New World (2030m) and Tyler is hopeful of a winning result at his fifth start for the stable.
“He is screaming out for 2000m. It is his best chance since we have had him, he will be a nice chance,” he said.
Tyler will also line-up Zac Black in the Breen Construction (1400m) and Full Fury in the Catalyst Performance Agronomy (2030m).