By Ray Hickson
Trainer Kim Waugh is going to let talented three-year-old Erno tell her what direction he wants to head this spring.
Erno, who returns in the ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (1200m) at Warwick Farm on Wednesday, holds a nomination for next month's Group 1 $1m Golden Rose but Waugh said that entry was more or less speculative.
"You have to (nominate) because if you're not there you can't go there,'' she said.
The gelding, $1.90 with TAB for his return, has been fitted with two trials and it was hard not to notice him being slapped up a bit late in his win at Newcastle last week.
Waugh said that's a reflection of Erno's relaxed attitude but it could also be a sign he's looking for more ground this preparation or perhaps some head gear.
"I think he's going to end up getting up over a mile the way he's going. He's been very relaxed in his trials and finishing off nicely,'' she said.
"I'm just going to see how he goes, whether he ends up down the track wanting blinkers on, but I think race day might switch him on.''
Erno won his first two starts but Waugh said he showed what he's made of in defeat with his game second to Creator in the Clarendon Stakes at Hawkesbury in April when he was left a sitting shot.
"He definitely was unfortunate, I think he definitely should have won it,'' she said.
"That other horse took him on and did a lot of work, I thought it was a super run that day. As good as his wins really.
"He's strengthened up a bit, matured a bit, he's done well.''
Waugh has two other runners at Warwick Farm and can make a case for both King Hewitt and Holy Reign to be in the finish of their respective races.
King Hewitt, running in the Lonhro & Sons Handicap (1600m), hit the line strongly late to run second behind Lifetime Quest over 1400m two weeks ago in a race best 33.95 for his last 600m (Punter's Intelligence).
“I couldn't be happier with the way he's going. It's a nice race for him, he's drawn okay and up to a mile will suit him also,'' she said.
The six-year-old has only had 10 starts and Waugh hopes he's seasoned enough now to enjoy a decent preparation.
"He's a big strong horse but he'd go a bit sore in the knees and was very soft boned,'' she said.
"We kept tipping him out and giving him time, he's been the slowest developing horse. Hopefully we can keep going now because he's got quite a bit of ability.''
Erno wins a trial at Newcastle on August 19
And expect Holy Reign to take advantage of barrier one in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m) and take a trail after he worked a bit too hard outside the leader before fading to run last at Rosehill on August 10.
"I'd like to see him with nice cover in behind and hitting the line,'' Waugh said.
"I think he is a good chaser, he can get in front early and he drifts around and loses concentration.''
Meanwhile, Waugh said Our Century will be the stable's representative in next week's Wyong Cup with stablemate Goathland to miss the race after a temperature set his preparation back.
And, 2018 Provincial Championships runner-up Newsfan will miss the spring with a tendon tear.