By Jonny Turner
Waikouaiti trainer Amber Hoffman lines up a team packed full of good eachway chances at Winton on Thursday.
Her five-strong line-up includes smart debut winner Trinity Star, who will have her second career start in race 8.
The four-year-old hit the track on the perfect note when swooping on the leaders to win at Oamaru last month.
“She is a nice mare, she is still learning and she doesn’t know a lot,” Hoffman said.
“But the ability is definitely there.”
“So hopefully she can carry on and win a few more races.”
After sweeping the front, driver Mark Hurrell had to keep Trinity Star’s mind on the job in front of her near the winning post.
That was a reflection of how green the mare is, rather than her starting to tire.
“She just knocked off when she got to the front because she didn’t know what she was doing,” Hoffman said.
“Luckily another horse came up the inside to keep her mind on the job.”
“I think quite highly of this mare, so once she learns the ropes she will be one to follow in the future.”
Trinity Star starts alongside her stablemate Brightest Moment in race 8.
The six-year-old produced strong form before disappointing in her last two starts.
Hoffman is hopeful the mare can bounce back to her best on Thursday judging by her recent work.
“Her work has been really, really good.”
“She has got more ringcraft than Trinity Star when it’s time to go she really knows how to zip up.”
“If she got the right trip she shouldn’t be far away in that field.”
“But, she has just got to do things right because she can be a bit cantankerous.”
Yankee Shard comes into race 10 for Hoffman after galloping at the rear of the field in his last start at Orari.
Hoffman put the mistake largely down to race circumstances.
“It was a bit of a crazy race, they went hard early.”
“Then they stopped and all of a sudden he grabbed the bit and run up behind them and broke.”
“I wouldn’t be too concerned about that.”
“His work has been good and he seems happy.”
Yankee Shard should get every chance to atone from barrier 1 for driver Sheree Tomlinson in a race that looks within his range.
“One should be a good draw for him,” Hoffman said.
“As long as he does things right and comes out of the gate kindly.”
“He could probably lead up and do his own thing.”
“I think it is a winnable race for him.”
Jonique starts in race 4 for Hoffman and stable reinsman Mark Hurrell.
Though the mare has not started since September the trainer thinks she is forward enough to run a good race.
“She is pretty fit,” Hoffman said.
“We don’t hopple her a lot at home because she rubs up really bad.”
“We put the hopples on her the other day and she worked really good for a maiden.”
“In saying that she hasn’t raced for a while and there is nothing like race day [fitness].”
“But it doesn’t look like an overly strong field and she could run top three if she wasn’t unlucky. “
Hoffman and Hurrell again combine in race 9 with Ultimate Sassenach.
The five-year-old faces a big challenge, taking on promising three-year-olds Ragazzo Mach and Yorikobi.
Judging by her work, Ultimate Sassenach looks a genuine place hope.
“We have taken the hopples off and have been using her as a galloping pacemaker and she seems really happy.”
“Her work has been good and she has been a bit grumpy around the place, which is usually a good sign for her.”
“This is the toughest field she has met so far, I would be happy if she ran in the top four.”