Southland trainer Sabin Kirkland is hoping the festivities continue when he heads to Wingatui on Boxing Day with his talented sprinter Buoyant.
The four-year-old gelding was in a purple patch of form over spring, winning two and placing in two of his four starts, including winning the Gr.3 Stewards Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton last month following his third placing in the Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m) a week prior.
He subsequently went for a freshen-up and Kirkland is over the moon with the way the son of Dalghar is tracking ahead of the Listed Property Brokers Hazlett Stakes (1200m) on Monday.
“I am very happy with him so far. He had his final gallop at Oreti Beach the other day and he looked like Burt Munro,” Kirkland quipped.
“He had a wee freshen-up after Riccarton and he has been doing quite a bit of work at the beach to give him a bit of variation.”
While confident with his charge heading into Monday, Kirkland said he has plenty of respect for his opposition.
“The horse of the Dennis brothers (The Radiant One) is a live wire and Lance Robinson’s pair (Live Drama and Khimar War) are nice horses,” he said.
“He has drawn nicely and Corey (Campbell, jockey) can sit back or go forward from the seven draw.”
While Buoyant holds a nomination for the Gr.1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham next month, Kirkland holds aspirations of sending the gelding across the Tasman.
“We have got a nomination for the Telegraph, but we might look further afield I think,” he said.
“We are looking at Australia and I would like to have a crack at the Newmarket (Gr.1, 1200m), he would get in with no weight. There is a nice race down in Adelaide too.
“He would have to put his hand up on Monday to have those sort of dreams, but he has run the times, he is no slouch.
“He would probably go over to Australia early in the new year and head to a trainer over there.”
Kiwi connections tasted success in the Newmarket Handicap earlier this year, with the Michael Moroney-trained Roch ‘N’ Horse carrying Little Avondale’s silks to victory in the Flemington feature.
Kirkland has previously tasted success across the Tasman and he believes Buoyant is capable of adding to that tally.
“Elusive Catch won over there for us, she raced against Winx, and we also had success with Orange Roughie,” he said.