New Zealand’s three-year-old ranks have proven to be an exciting crop to date this season and that excitement could enhance at Matamata on Wednesday when promising galloper Harlech kicks-off his spring campaign.
Local trainers Pam Gerard and Michael Moroney have a lot of time for the son of Darci Brahma who had two starts as a juvenile, including a placing, before impressing with his 1020m trial win at Te Teko last month.
“I do like the horse,” Gerard said. “We had a high opinion of him even as a two-year-old. We put him straight into a stakes race where he was a little bit unlucky. He should of probably already have a stakes placing.
“He was very impressive in his trial. Obviously it’s only a trial and it is hard to get a line on them, but Cameron (Lammas, jockey) was very happy with him and thinks he is pretty forward.
“I think he is a live chance of really being competitive in the three-year-old races and the mile is going to be ideal for him.”
While there are big plans instore for Harlech this spring his connections are concentrating on their home meeting on Wednesday where he will attempt to clear maiden company in the Waharoa Transport CO(1995) Ltd 1200.
Gerard is pleased with the colt heading into Wednesday, but believes the 1200m is well short of his best distance.
“I think tomorrow is going to be a little bit short,” Gerard said.
“It’s not a bad little field, but I am very happy with where he is at, at the moment. If he can get a nice trip and be finishing off well, I think he can be right in it.”
Harlech has a number of black-type targets ahead of him this spring, including the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld 4th NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November before his connections weigh up his future.
“He has still got to step up to the mark and get a win under his belt,” Gerard said.
“Depending on how he goes tomorrow we will probably return for the three-year-old 1400m back at Matamata in the following meeting (October 12) before heading to the Sarten (Gr.2, 1400m) and then fly down to Christchurch.
“He does hold a nomination for the Guineas. That’s the first (major) aim and then we will look to whether he heads to Australia or carries on for his three-year-old season.”
A $100,000 Karaka yearling purchase by Michael’s brother, international bloodstock agent Paul Moroney, Harlech could add some more excitement to his sire Darci Brahma’s three-year-old crop.
The Oaks Stud stallion is already have a dream run with his dual stakes-winning son Catalyst who heads the 2000 Guineas futures market at $1.90 with TAB bookmakers after his impressive 3-1/4 length win in the Gr.3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Gerard is also looking forward lining up another exciting prospect in the form of O’Reilly gelding Glenhope.
The Kevin Hickman-bred and owned four-year-old won on debut at Matamata last month after two impressive trial wins at Te Rapa in July and Gerard is hoping he continue his winning form.
“It was a nice win on debut and he trialled up very well,” she said. “He is a big, raw, green horse and by no means has he sorted it out yet.”
Gerard was weighing up whether to line-up Glenhope at Hastings on Saturday, but said it was more than likely he would take his place in the Transport Mechanical Waharoa Ltd 1400 at Matamata on Wednesday.
“My gut feeling is just another run on his home track, just to get him doing things right, might be the best option,” she said.
“I know he is going to go a long way, but mentally we will just get him in the right place.”