Trainer Chris Wood is hoping Side Eye can continue his preparation the way he started it – winning.
The Sidestep gelding was victorious first-up over 1300m on the Cambridge Synthetic last month and will head to Tauranga on Saturday in a fresh state where he will attempt to continue his momentum in the Happy Retirement Brian McKeagg 1400.
“I think he suits a bit of spacing between his races,” Wood said.
“He has trained on nicely since that win, we have been pretty easy on him.
“He has had three or four gallops this week and has had a couple of jumpouts in-between races and he is coming to hand nicely.”
The five-year-old gelding will be ridden by Bridget Grylls from barrier three and Wood said they should be able to find a handy position from that marble.
“He is a horse that jumps and runs, so the barrier draw is ideal,” he said.
“He doesn’t have to lead but that seems to be a pattern that suits him. If we don’t lead, we will be sitting outside whoever decides to have the pace.”
Wood will be on track at Tauranga this weekend but will be keeping a close eye on racing at Trentham where he will line-up Alfriston in the Gr.1 Gee & Hickton Funeral Directors Levin Classic (1600m).
“It is a Group One race and you have got to have a go in your three-year-old year,” he said.
“He hasn’t had a lot of luck since he ran fourth in the Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) in Christchurch. He has trained on really well and I am happy with him.
“He has drawn out a little bit (13), which suits him because he doesn’t always begin the best. If he does miss away he can get up and around them. He will be on pace too, so it will be an advantage if he jumps.
“It is a very even field and I think Andrew Forsman’s horse (The Intimidator) will be very hard to beat. We are in with a runner’s chance.”
Wood hasn’t made any firm plans with Alfriston after Saturday, but may send him for a spell in preparation for spring racing.
“He is probably due a break at some stage and we will have him back for the spring,” he said. “I’m just usure when that will be.”