Feature focus for Hillis
18 May 2017, 3:56 p.m.
Wayne Hillis is hoping his only two runners on Saturday can run and jump.
The Matamata trainer will produce Watch This Space in the Listed James Bull Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m) at Awapuni and Nothing Trivial in the Porritt Sand Waikato Hurdles (3200m) at Te Rapa.
|Watch This Space Photo: Trish Dunell|
Watch This Space's performance will determine how much deeper into the winter his preparation goes, with Hillis keen to avoid the most testing heavy conditions. Although he is taking some confidence from the Elusive City gelding's best win in the Gr.2 Japan-New Zealand International Trophy at Tauranga coming on a heavy track.
"He's going well. His last run in the Easter is best forgotten the way the set weights and penalties conditions were against him," Hillis said.
"He's a bit small for weight-for-age so back to a handicap on Saturday should suit him and I don't think the wet track will worry him. It's not a bad field but he's definitely a good chance.
"We'll just see how he goes and then decide what he does after this."
At Te Rapa, former Gr.3 Counties Cup runner-up Nothing Trivial faces his biggest test over fences, though his commanding 2 1/4-length last start maiden win has Hillis upbeat about his chances.
"He's going really well. He's in form and fit and if he jumps well, he's got to be right in it," Hillis said.
"Last start he jumped really well. He's been more of a careful jumper. He'll ease for a couple of strides then pop over but he was having a go at them last time so hopefully he does that again on Saturday."
Hillis will be looking for his third Waikato Steeples win, having won in 1986 as a rider aboard Won't Be Easy and as a trainer with King Piccolo in 2014."Nothing Trivial probably has more ability on the flat than King Piccolo and he might not be far away from him as a jumper either," Hillis said. - NZ Racing Desk