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McKee has eyes for the main prizes

18 September 2017, 3:24 p.m.

Stephen McKee is hoping to attack Group One spring features with two of his top juveniles from last season. 

Stakes performers Star Treasure and Hasahalo are both pleasing the Ardmore trainer in the early stages of their three-year-old preparations, which were furthered with outings at the Avondale trials last Thursday.

Star Treasure Photo: Trish Dunell

Runner-up in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) and fourth in the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), Star Treasure finished runner-up in his open 1000m heat.

“He trialled really well,” McKee said. “He wasn’t out to do too much, the track was quite heavy but he was in an early heat. He jumped out and was keen to run along a bit.”

McKee said the Lonhro colt’s major aim of the season will be the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.

Another stable runner that could be joining Star Treasure on the trip south is Savabeel’s daughter Hasahalo.

The Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) winner and Karaka Million (1200m) runner-up ran fourth in her heat and did enough to show McKee that she was ready for her next assignment at Hastings.

“I am really happy with her,” he said. “She just came for a day out and a quiet trial. We’ll take her to Hastings for the Gold Trail Stakes.

“She’s also nominated for the 1000 Guineas, but it depends with these three-year-olds on how they come up in their first run or two.”

Meanwhile, McKee’s Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) winner Consensus is set to resume later this month after her third-placing in her heat.

“I was really happy with her trial, she was quite fresh and keen and finished it off under a nice hold,” he said.

“She’s penciled in to run on September 30 at Ellerslie, but unless the track improves we will go somewhere else.” – NZ Racing Desk.