Graham Richardson has no worries about Bonny Lass’ condition ahead of her resuming run at Te Rapa on Sunday, but factors beyond his control are tempering confidence levels.
The Matamata horseman, who trains in partnership with Rogan Norvall, has the gifted short course specialist in good order to open her campaign in the PS Brown Construction Sprint (1200m), which also features stablemate Paisley Park.
However, Bonny Lass will have to overcome a hefty impost and a horror barrier (12) in her first appearance since a midfield finish in the Gr.1 BCD Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa earlier this year.
“She is going really well, it’s just a shame she’s got 60.5kg but it is what it is,” Richardson said.
“It is also a very tricky gate and that’s a concern but there really isn’t anywhere else for her to go.”
The speedy daughter of Super Easy is a multiple Group winner and twice Group One-placed in her 14-start career and this preparation is focussed on an elite level victory.
“She deserves a Group One and her next run will be in the Sweynesse Stakes (Gr.3, 1215m), which she won last year, and then pick our way toward the Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) and Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m),” Richardson said.
Bonny Lass’ regular rider Craig Grylls will again be in the saddle on Sunday after partnering the five-year-old in a lead-up trial success at Taupo last month.
The versatile Paisley Park has also been an excellent flagbearer for the stable and the nine-time winner will be making his first start since early July.
“He’s won a Dunstan Stayers’ Champion Final (2400m), a Kaimai Stakes (Listed, 2000m) and a Matamata Cup (Listed, 1600m) so he’s a pretty good horse,” Richardson said.
“He’s very well and is a sound horse who hasn’t really had a lot of runs,” Richardson said.
“I don’t like over-taxing them and we’ll be looking toward the Matamata Cup again.”
Paisley Park will be ridden by apprentice Mubs Kareem, who has also been entrusted with the mount on Defibrillate when he kicks off another Group One campaign in the Craigs Investment Partners Mile (1600m).
“He’s been an incredible horse for me and my mates, there’s been a lot of good times and hopefully there’s more to come,” Richardson said.
“He’s got some weight on his back (60.5kg) and his next run will then be in the Livamol Classic (Gr.1, 2040m).
“He ran third last year in his first run for five months and then won the Balmerino Stakes (Gr.3, 2050m) and the Zabeel Classic (Gr.1, 2050m).”
Defibrillate will follow a similar path this time around and is also likely to have second cracks at the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes (2050m).
He finished fourth and fifth respectively in last season’s weight-for-age features and had little go his way in either event.
“He’s such a dude, although he wasn’t earlier in his career and was good at bucking. He had his moments, a bit like most of the good ones,” Richardson said.