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Hopeful rather than confident.
That’s probably the best way to summarise Steven Reid’s approach to tonight’s Cambridge meeting with stable newcomer, Baileys Knight.
The seven-race winner was recently sent north by former trainer and part-owner, Jack Harrington, after a fruitless 2019 to date.
“Jack rang me out of the blue and asked if he could send him up here,” Reid told HRNZ.
“He’d stayed here with the horse last year but I can’t admit to knowing too much about him.”
Some casual research didn’t excite Reid, but his opinion of the horse has improved recently.
“I had a look at his last two or three runs and I was wondering if he was just on his mark here in New Zealand.
“And when he first arrived, I was thinking he’s ‘just a horse’. Then he got crook, too.
“I had to back off him for three or four days and I have to say, since then, he’s done nothing but improve.
“I was rapt with him going in to his trial last Saturday and thought he went really well.”
Baileys Knight led up in the day’s feature heat at Pukekohe and was headed by Solid Gold at the top of the straight but fought on well for second.
“He was coming back at the other horse on the line.”
Reid says Baileys Knight’s future probably lies overseas, but the plan will be to win a few races in the north first.
“Jack was going to send him to Aussie to race and I would say that is where he will probably end up.
“But they might be able to sell him if he comes up well.”
Thirty metres from a stand is the task facing Baileys Knight and driver Zachary Butcher tonight and classy mares Ivana Flybye and Delightful Deal look the hardest to beat.
Oddly, despite having a bag of tricks comparable to a magician, it’s not the start that poses the biggest threat to his chances.
“Jack did tell me he should be fine getting away, it’s 150 metres after the start that you have to be careful with him.
“So, I’ll be telling Zac to nurse him early.”
Reid, who is “working 14, including three gallopers” says stable star Star Galleria is close to a resumption and looks in good order.
“He’s really good; I’m very happy with him.
“He’s had about three runs back and I’ve been stoked.
“I’m pretty sure at this stage I’ll stay up here for the Spring Cup and Holmes D G and then go south to Ashburton.”
The New Zealand Cup and Inter Dominions are firmly in his plans, as you’d expect.
“It’s time to bite the bullet with him.
“We turned him out early and he had a massive break so he came back looking enormous.
“I’m targeting September 20 as his first race back but, honestly, he’s that well that I reckon he could race in the first week of September if I wanted to.”