Peter Lock has narrowed down his options for Cambridge Stud-bred and raced Tavistock gelding Hiflyer with the favoured path a trip to Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
“Although nothing is set in concrete just yet, at this stage I’m leaning toward the Zabeel Classic. I think he’ll get the 2000m,” the Te Aroha trainer said.
“There’s also the Rich Hill Mile, but he’s not a big, gross horse and I think that he would get too much weight. He’s rated 103 now and he would get 59 or 60kg.”
A start in the Cambridge Stud-sponsored Ellerslie Group One feature would also fit in well with a following run in the Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham on January 20.
“We could freshen him. The Thorndon is set weights and penalties and it’s been a goal for a long, long time but if we were lucky enough to win the Zabeel then that could change,” Lock said.
Hiflyer’s victory in Saturday’s Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) capped off a hot run of form for Lock’s stable.
“It was a big thrill, it’s been incredible. We’ve had five winners in the last fortnight or so and for this horse to have won three in a row, including two Group Threes, has been very special.
“He’s getting more professional and on Saturday he bullied his way through when another horse was laying in on him.”
An autumn campaign in Sydney is also on next year’s agenda.
“We’ve always wanted to go to Australia and I think he’s up to the better horses there,” Lock said.
“He’s maturing all the time and learning his craft. I think he will be an even better horse next preparation.”
Lock also paid tribute to Hiflyer’s regular rider Johnathan Parkes for the part he has played in the Tavistock gelding’s rise to prominence.
“He’s ridden him 10 out of 10 every start,” he said. “He’s a lovely bloke and a very, very good rider.” – NZ Racing Desk.