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Weighty Task For Hiflyer's Winter Audition For Spring

By Ray Hickson

New Zealand trainer Peter Lock is keen to return in the spring with talented five-year-old Hiflyer if he can take out Saturday’s Listed $150,000 Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.

Hiflyer is a multiple Group winner across the Tasman and was Group 1 placed in the Thorndon Mile in January and with a 106 rating carries 59.5kg for his Australian debut.

As talented as Lock knows the gelding is, it’s that impost which has him erring on the side of caution – despite Hiflyer carrying 61.5kg to win first-up at Ruakaka on June 16.

“He’s a very talented little horse, he’s not overly big but is all heart and tries hard,’’ Lock said.

“He won really nicely with the weight on his back there but you can’t keep doing it all the time.

“I’m a bit worried about the weight because it’s a far better class of horse here than what we’re racing at home.’’

Lock said Hiflyer’s first-up win was an excellent performance, albeit in much weaker company than he’ll face at Rosehill, as he drifted back and had to bullock into the clear, spotting the runner-up 9.5kg, over 1200m.

“He drew inside and 1200m is not his go, we had to ride him for luck with the big weight,’’ he said.

“Half way down the straight he was never going to win but he’s run 1:10 and his last 600m in 34.’’

Regular jockey Johnathan Parkes is making the trip to Sydney to ride in a race that will provide some guide as to whether better races should be targeted.

TAB opened Hiflyer at $11 in the Winter Stakes behind the John Thompson stablemates Dreamforce and Special Missile ($5.50).

“We want to put his toe in the water,’’ Lock said.

“He’s only a lightly tried horse at home, he’s come through the grades, we’ve looked after him as he’s been a bit weak and immature.

“We decided to test him out against some nicer horses and if he comes through okay we’d go home and come back to target some of the good races in the spring.’’

Hiflyer, bred and raced by NZ racing royalty Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, is one of three horses Lock has staying with Randwick trainer Peter Robl – the other pair Mr Luigi and Dougie will race at Randwick on Saturday week.

His last trip to Sydney was with a stayer called Stan The Man in late 1999.

That horse ran sixth at Randwick at his first start then had to be transferred to Ron Quinton for whom he won his next two starts before a tendon injury ended his career.

When asked how he thinks Hiflyer will measure up in the Winter Stakes, Lock admits he’d not yet delved into the form but says if his horse produces his best then he has to be a winning chance.

“He gets back a little bit, it’s a matter of if you’re going good enough you can get off the fence but if you’re not it’s a bad place to be,’’ he said.

“If we can get a bit of luck, a nice economical run and have a clear run at them the last bit he should be thereabouts.’’

Check out the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Winter Stakes meeting at Rosehill Gardens

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