Trainer Michael Pitman said he would consider the Railway Stakes at Ellerslie for Coup Align in January if a change is made to the conditions of the Telegraph Handicap at Trentham three weeks earlier.
The pattern review committee, an advisory body to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, has recommended that the Group I Telegraph (1200m) be run at set weights with penalties, rather than a handicap. The Group I Railway (1200m) is run under those conditions. Coup Align would be on the minimum having not won a listed or Group I race for 18 months. Wins in a listed to Group I race before January would incur a range of penalties up to 3kg.
Brett Scelly, the chief handicapper for NZTR, said it would be a matter for the Wellington Racing Club to decide if the conditions of the Telegraph are changed.
''The Telegraph is his main aim but we will consider the Railway depending on the adoption of the recommendation,'' said Pitman, who has a large number of his team based at Riccarton at present.
The 8-year-old Coup Align is progressing well towards a resumption in the listed Pegasus Handicap (1000m) on the first day of the New Zealand Cup meeting on November 9. He has the Group III Stewards' Handicap (1200m) on his programme four days later.
Coup Align has not raced since he won over 1000m at Riccarton in April. He had not raced for eight months after a stint in Singapore with Mark Walker.
''His feet are a lot better this time in than when he came back from Singapore,'' Pitman said.
Coup Align won the the Pegasus fresh up in 2009 as a 4-year-old and the Stewards' the same year. He won the 2010 Stewards' after campaigning in Australia that spring, winning over 1000m at Cranbourne a month earlier.
He ran third to Mufhasa and Wall Street in the 2011 Telegraph.
Pitman spent several hours with leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller on Saturday to broaden his outlook. He had been to Melbourne with his son, Johnny for a jujitsu tournament. Johnny won the Australian under 85kg title.
''I may have won the New Zealand trainers' premiership three times but I am always on the lookout for ways to improve the operation. Chris could not have been more helpful,'' Pitman said. ''He puts a lot of importance on communication with clients.''
Pitman ruled out a satellite stable in Australia. ''We tried it and it didn't work for us.''
He saw Coup Ay Tee who has been entered the $230,000 Coupland's Bakeries Mile at the New Zealand Cup meeting. ''He looks fantastic and Chris is planning to give him a trial and a race before heading to Riccarton.''
Coup Ay Tee, owned by Ray and Jill Coupland, has not raced since he won the Hawkesbury Cup (1600m) on August 22. He won at Wingatui and Cromwell early in 2011 from three starts for Pitman. The Danske entire has amassed $638,000 in stakes.
- © Fairfax NZ News