Johnathan Parkes shows his faith in Hiflyer
In sacrificing what would have been a strong book of rides at Awapuni on a Group III day, it's clear how highly Johnathan Parkes rates Te Aroha galloper Hiflyer.
Parkes heads to Ruakaka on Saturday to continue his association with the Peter Lock-trained Tavistock five-year-old in preference to riding at Metric Mile day at Awapuni, where his services would have been in hot demand.
"I think a lot of the horse and I'm making the trip to make sure I retain the ride for later on with bigger and better races in mind," Parkes said.
"I've picked up one other ride, [Tavlin] for Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs, but the reason for going up there was to ride Hiflyer so it didn't matter too much what else I was riding.
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"I'm missing out on a few good ones. The Tavistock horse of Andrew Campbell's [Athletico], he's a pretty smart horse and no doubt I would have had a strong book if I had stayed in the CD but that's the sacrifice I've made so I can ride Hiflyer."
Hiflyer will contest the New Zealand Bloodstock Finance 1200, his first race since his Group II Easter Stakes (1600m) second placing at Ellerslie in April, but both jockey and trainer are happy with the horse.
"He's 90 per cent ready and hopefully his class can get him there," Lock said.
"It's huge for us having Johnathan on and for him to be prepared to commit through the season.
"I rang his agent [Bevan Sweeney] on Monday and said I know there's a $70,000 Group Three race at Awapuni so I'll have no complaints if he doesn't want to travel all this way north for a $30,000 race, but he said he'd spoken to Johnathan and this was a horse he didn't want to get off.
Parkes said despite the small field he wouldn't be bustling Hiflyer early but he wouldn't want to be giving his rivals too much of a start either.
"Fresh-up, Peter is expecting a pretty good run. Before his last preparation, he trialled up really well and then ran second fresh, but this time Peter wanted to save that first outing for a race," Parkes said.
"He'll certainly be a chance, just on class alone, but there are bigger and more important races coming up so this isn't the be-all and end-all of his campaign."
Safely through Saturday's race, Lock is considering Hiflyer for the Group III Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings on October 7 and the Group III Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham on October 28, each race spaced with three-week gaps.
- NZ Racing Desk