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Hillis eyes Taupo Cup success

28 December 2017, 3:02 p.m.

Nothing Trivial's Harcourts Taupo Cup bid on Saturday will kick off a string of feature race assignments for members of the Wayne Hillis stable.

The 2014 Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m) runner-up goes into the Taupo Cup (1950m) after a last-start sixth placing at Te Rapa, a performance Hillis is confident his charge can improve on.

Nothing Trivial Photo: Trish Dunell Photography

"He was a bit unlucky. He was tightened up a couple of times in the straight and he blew a bit afterwards," he said.

"He hadn't run since the New Zealand Cup. We gave him a bit of a break after that so he will have improved with the run."

Bred and raced by Emma Evans, the eight-year-old gelding has won nine of his 79 starts.

"He's been pretty consistent right through and I think he should go pretty close on Saturday," Hillis said, adding that Nothing Trivial was likely to shoot for his second win in the Lockwood Thames Cup (2000m) next Thursday, after he won the race in 2015.

Hillis also intends racing maiden Measured Twice at both Taupo and Thames.

In between, Hillis has stakes aims for Watch This Space and Bit Lippy at Ellerslie on Monday.

Watch This Space, fourth in the Gr.2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton and fifth in the Gr.3 J Swap Contracting Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa at his last two appearances, will tackle the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m), while Bit Lippy, who has placed in stakes company in her only two starts so far, is entered for the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m).

"Watch This Space went a big race the other day. He had 60kg and was three wide the whole way," Hillis said.

"He only just came to the end of it, just with the big weight I guess, but if he’d had a better run he might have gone pretty close. He's trained on well for Ellerslie and if he races well there, he'll go to the Thorndon Mile, which would suit him better under set weights and penalties.

"Bit Lippy has gone two good races so far and been a bit unlucky in both. He's not Karaka Million eligible because he didn't go through the sales so he'll head to New Plymouth [for the Gr.3 Phoenix Park 2yo Classic (1200m) on February 3] and we'll hope the Karaka Million draws the better ones away from that."

Hillis said his Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Final winner Livin' On A Prayer had come through her win at Ellerslie on Boxing Day in good order and she would now prepare for the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie on January 27. - NZ Racing Desk.