John Mason can think of enough good reasons not to take Breaking Dawn to next month's $100,000 Rich Hill Mile.
The Tokoroa trainer was thrilled to welcome the Gold Mine four-year-old back to the winner's circle after a gritty win in yesterday's $25,000 Lodge 1600 at Te Rapa.
Breaking Dawn's dislike of racing right-handed, that he was now looking for distances longer than 1600m and that he was feeling the hard ground yesterday and in need of some easing of the tracks were among the reasons Mason listed for not heading to the Group II Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.
But having won a key lead-up to the Rich Hill Mile under Noel Harris, who won last year's feature on Miss Pelear, Mason said he would not be making any hurried decision.
However, he made it clear the Ellerslie feature was not his preferred option.
"If I owned him I'd put him out till the autumn," Mason said.
"But I can understand owners these days wanting to have a go. He'll stay all right and I'm keen to get him up over ground. There are some nice races around."
Mason said he'd always had a lot of time for Breaking Dawn, whose win yesterday was his fourth from 20 starts.
He ran third in last season's Group II Waikato Guineas (2000m) and fourth in the Gr III Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni.
Harris backed Mason's plan to bypass Ellerslie, saying Breaking Dawn would benefit from a low-pressure preparation as he was a horse who would only keep improving with time.
"Ability-wise he's always had it. He's a good horse and I've got good faith in him," Harris said.
Breaking Dawn had to dig deep under Harris in an exciting finish to the Te Rapa feature, getting up on the outside to deny Classcoroc by a head, with Powerplaya having to settle for third, just half a head further back.
Jockey Rory Hutchings told stipendiary stewards favourite Miss Pelear held her breath and gave him nothing from the 600m.
However, Te Awamutu trainer Brendan Hawtin said Miss Pelear had come through the race without any issue and would press on to defend her title in the Rich Hill Mile.
- © Fairfax NZ News