The clash of several well-fancied New Zealand Derby contenders adds plenty of spice to the G2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Trainer Moira Murdoch provides two of those Derby hopefuls in NZ bred gallopers Zinko (Shinko King) and Impel (Gonski).
Runner-up in the Wellington Guineas last October, Zinko returned to the track after a short spell with a game second to Maximum Heights at Ellerslie on January 12. “It was a nice run as he hadn’t raced since the Levin Classic in November,” said Murdoch. “He has come on well and we expect him to relish the extra distance.”
Safely through Saturday’s contest, Zinko will have his final run before the Derby in the G2 Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie on February 16.
Abidewithme was just nabbed in the last bound over a mile at Ellerslie recently and is expected to enjoy the firm track conditions at Te Rapa. “He was a sitting duck at Ellerslie and proved to us he is a better follower than a leader,” explained Murdoch. “From his good draw, he should be able to take a handy position and we know he will appreciate a fast track.”
Murdoch has been active during the Select session of the NZ Bloodstock National Yearling Sale. She secured a Thorn Park colt for $30,000 from Windsor Park along with a Tavistock colt
from Lyndhurst Park.
Meanwhile, Weissmuller (Handsome Ransom) is a firming $2.90 favourite for the Guineas after destroying a useful line-up in the Wellington Stakes at Trentham on January 19. He is a full brother to Travolta and looked every inch a stayer in the making that day.