Bonecrusher Stakes beckons Hard Merchandize

28 Nov 2017

A trials win at Foxton last week has Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) winner Hard Merchandize on target for a northern test next month.

Freshened since finishing a game third behind Sumstreetsumwhere in the Gr.2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa, Burgundy three-year-old Hard Merchandize contested an open 1000m Foxton trial and with Dylan Turner in the saddle he scored a long neck win.

“It was a nice trial, a run just to keep him ticking over,” his Awapuni trainer Gary Vile said.

“He had a week in the paddock after the Sarten Memorial and needed a nice hit-out. The plan is to take him north next start for the Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie to give him a look right-handed. He’s had no problem working right-handed but I just want him to have that raceday experience.”

The Gr.3 Hynds Holding Ltd Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) is on Saturday week and Vile feels the timing is right for Hard Merchandize.

“The main aim is the $1 million Karaka three-year-old race in January and I’m just working out a path to get there,” Vile said.

“I’m thinking of maybe running him in the Kamada Park Stakes here (at Awapuni) as a lead-up. It’s weight-for-age and he’ll get in on 53kg. It could be a nice race for him if he’s going well.”

The Gr.2 Kamada Park Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) is on December 23 so Hard Merchandize still has just over a month before his Karaka Million 3yo Classic goal on January 27.

Vile has always had a high opinion of Hard Merchandize and punters got to finally realise his talent when he led throughout to beat some class three-year-olds in the Hawke’s Bay Guineas last month.

He then backed up that form with a courageous run for third in the Sarten Memorial after being checked early in the run home.

“It was only two or three months ago that if he got a knock like that on the turn he wouldn’t have handled it, but he can take it now,” Vile said.

“That’s how much he’s improved. He had two hard runs, in the Hawke’s Bay Guineas and the Sarten Memorial, so he needed the week off. It’s freshened him right up.” - NZ Racing Desk