Karaka horseman Lance Noble has Group One targets in mind for three members of his stable while another will head toward a newly created $1 million summer event.
Aquacade, Habana and Luberon will ideally tackle top-flight events this season and Polygon has the four-year-old event on the Karaka Million program in January as her long-term goal.
The Cambridge Stud-owned quartet are back in work with Noble, who will send the well-performed mare Aquacade to next week’s trials at Ruakaka to further her preparation.
“She’s definitely a good stayer, but we may keep her on the fresh side and head toward the Zabeel Classic (Gr.1, 2000m),” Noble said.
“What I’d like to do is go to the Counties Cup (Gr.3, 2100m) and a month later the Zabeel, there is no Group One staying race anymore, so we’ll keep her on the fresher side.”
The Dundeel mare enjoyed a lucrative four-year-old season with victories in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) and the Dunstan Feeds Stayers’ Championship Final (2400m) and ended her campaign when fourth in the Gr.2 Auckland Cup (3200m).
“Long-term, I would like her to get to Sydney in the autumn because she does handle wet tracks and that might be the time to run her over a bit more ground,” Noble said.
“We’ll probably give her a light prep this time and have a crack at a Group One in New Zealand and then target Australia.”
Habana won four times last season and finished runner-up in the Gr.3 Easter Handicap (1600m) on a heavy track.
“He’s great and was a bit of a revelation. He has been a quirky horse and grew up a lot and went through the grades nicely,” Noble said.
“If it had been a dry track in the Easter I think he would have gone closer and I’m looking at the Captain Cook Stakes (Gr.1, 1600m) for him.”
Polygon showed her quality last term with success in the Gr.2 Royal Stakes (2000m) off the back of victory in the Gr.3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m).
The daughter of Highly Recommended was subsequently unplaced in three Australian outings.
“She’s come very well and will trial at Ruakaka and we’ll be aiming her at the new race, the Karaka Million (1600m) for four-year-olds,” Noble said.
“That will be the main target and then there’s a lot of nice fillies and mares’ races for her in the autumn.”
Embellish filly Luberon was a debut winner at Ruakaka last season and then suffered a hind quarter injury after finishing third in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe.
She finished runner-up in an open 850m heat at Te Awamutu and is likely to resume at Te Rapa later this month.
“It’s been a long recovery, but she trialled up nicely last week and her target will be the 1000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m),” Noble said.
“I’ve got a nice team and it’s been a long, drawn-out winter and haven’t been in a rush, but now’s the time to start getting serious.”