By Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
Stablemates Orchestral and Paragon hold upcoming Group One nominations, although connections are approaching the business end of the spring with flexibility.
The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained three-year-olds will kick off their campaigns on Saturday with the former heading to Hastings for the Gr.3 HBPB Thoroughbred Breeders’ Gold Trail Stakes (1200m).
Meanwhile, Paragon will face a more modest test when he runs in the opening event, the Alibaba’s Flying Carpets Kerikeri (1400m), at Ruakaka.
They head the betting in their respective events and Orchestral is also currently the $6 favourite for the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.
However, Wellwood did sound a note of caution regarding the daughter of Savabeel’s prospects of a successful resumption on Saturday.
“She’s certainly not an out and out 1200m horse and is one that we think will go 1400 and a mile and then more so in the autumn,” he said.
“She has showed that she’s got a lot of ability, but is up against some sharper fillies that can jump and put themselves on speed over 1200m and that’s a big advantage at Hastings.
“We expect to see her finish off well and if she’s doing her best work late then we’ll be happy. If she was able to win, it would signify that she is pretty special.”
Orchestral was runner-up on debut before she went one better next time out and performances that elevated her to the top of the early Guineas market.
“At this stage, it is well on our radar. You only want to be taking them to Christchurch if you think you’re a big chance of winning, especially now we’ve got a $1.5 million race (Karaka Million 3YO Classic, 1600m) just up the road,” Wellwood said.
That approach also applies to Paragon, who finished runner-up in both of his juvenile starts including the Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m).
“We’ve just got to let the spring unfold and go from there, we have got multiple options,” Wellwood said.
Paragon ran on late to finish fifth when resuming at Taupo last month, an effort that pleased connections.
“The 1100m was always going to be a bit short for him and he went into it without a trial,” Wellwood said.
“We were happy enough with his run and he’s out to a more suitable distance now.”
Paragon was bred by Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay, who remain in the ownership group, and is by the farm’s resident stallion Embellish, who won the 2017 edition of the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
“If he looked like he was a chance of winning the Guineas then I’m sure Brendan and Jo would love to see an Embellish feature in the race,” Wellwood said.
The stable also has Pizzazz (Remember Jooky Premier, 1300m) and Apostrophe (World’s Best Sprinter-Lucky Sweynesse Premier, 1400m) resuming at Hastings and Contemplation (T And G Plumbing, 1600m) at Ruakaka.
“They are all starting off and it will be nice to see them all working home nicely, none of them have got the screws tightened right down on them yet,” Wellwood said. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk