Hazel Schofer can't wait for her dream ride at Trentham on Saturday, partnering her favourite horse Tavi Mac in the Gr.1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m).
The reigning champion apprentice rode Tavi Mac to her first raceday win and seldom misses riding him in trackwork.
"He's a horse that means a huge amount to me and this is really exciting to get this opportunity," Schofer said.
"He's like a pet to me. He's such an intelligent horse and I get to ride him in trackwork everyday and he was my first raceday ride and winner. Hopefully when he retires, he can come out and live on the farm and still be a big part of my life."
A winner of 12 of his 22 starts, the Allan Sharrock-trained Tavi Mac has won five stakes races, including last season's Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.
In two starts in Group One races, the Tavistock six-year-old gelding finished sixth in the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings and fifth in last year's Telegraph.
"His trackwork has been really good,” Schofer said. “He's had a few little issues during this preparation and it really hasn't gone as Allan would have planned but he can't help that. He's known for his awkward conformation and I guess at his age, that's just starting to show a bit.
"But he had a jump out the other day and Allan was really happy with it. He's as on target as he could be. His run at Awapuni last start was good and it took a good horse in Coventina Bay to beat him."
Tavi Mac will be Schofer's third ride at Group One level after finishing out of the money on Beefeater in last season's Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham and on House Of Cartier in the El Cheapo Cars Weight-For-Age Classic (1600m) at Otaki.
"This is my best opportunity to even run in the first three, which I would be thrilled with," Schofer said.
"Obviously the two mares (Entriviere and Levante) are the ones to beat but other than that I think he would have raced and beaten most of the rest of the field at some point. It's really encouraging to be on a horse that's a genuine place chance."
Tavi Mac is a $17 chance with bookmakers for the Telegraph behind Entriviere at $1.50 and Levante at $4.
Schofer will also ride unbeaten three-year-old Shamus for her boss Sharrock in the Gr.2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (1400m).
"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to stick with him. I'm really excited to ride him," Schofer said.
"There's quite a bit of depth to that field too and he's a genuine first-three chance against some really nice horses coming down from up north. Getting to a big track like Trentham is really going to suit him.
"At Awapuni, he has really started to flatten out at the end of his races but once he gets to Trentham, he'll just have that bit more room to really go through his gears."
Schofer's other rides at Trentham are Tavattack, Torque Time and Putorino.
"Tavattack, he's placed really nicely in that race and blinkers go on. On his last run at Awapuni, he's a really good chance."