The 2000 Guineas and Derby are possible targets for talented three-year-old The Wolf (Rip Van Winkle).
A Group One challenge awaits The Wolf, but whether he will be tested at that level in the shorter term will be decided this weekend.
The impressive last-start winner will be on trial for a trip to Christchurch for next month’s Gr. 1 Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas when he steps out at Trentham on Saturday.
“He’ll head to Wellington for the three-year-old race over 1400 metres and we’ll make a decision after that,” said Johno Benner, who trains the son of Rip Van Winkle with his partner Holly Wynyard.
“We could go to Christchurch – he’s a very talented horse with a good pedigree and there aren’t many Group One races worth $400,000. He’s still a colt so we’re mindful of that.
“The other option would be to put him aside and work toward the Derby.”
A grandson of the Gr. 1 Avondale Gold Cup winner Sharvasti, The Wolf finished runner-up in his only two-year-old outing and was fifth when he resumed on a heavy track at Awapuni last month.
“I should never have run him at Palmerston North that day,” Benner said. “He’s a good horse who needs a good track.”
Jockey Lisa Allpress was on The Wolf again at Tauherenikau, where they won a three-year-old maiden with a minimum of effort.
“He got to the front a bit too soon and being a colt he loafed the last bit,” Benner said. “Lisa likes him and she was pretty soft on him.”
The Wolf is part-owned by Little Avondale Stud principal Sam Williams, who sold his half-sister by Road To Rock to internationally successful trainer Luca Cumani at Karaka earlier this year.