Trainer Dave Kaa will have a $230,000 decision to make after his two stable stars race at Alexandra Park tonight.
Because both Dean Martin and Mista Mara need to win tonight to confirm their assault on feature races in Canterbury in coming weeks.
Dean Martin is already qualified for the $180,000 Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington on November 12 but if he can’t beat just four rivals in tonight’s opening race that trip is in doubt.
“Sure, we would like to go but he really needs to be winning this,” says Kaa.
“I was happy with his heat run at Cambridge but he is still a maiden and there are going to be some very sharp three-year-olds in the Final at Addington.
“So if he can win this race be deserves the trip, if he can’t then we have to wonder whether it is worth heading down there.”
Dean Martin has shown good gate speed in his four starts but does have another Sires’ Stakes qualified runner in Hot Mach likely to be sitting not far off him tonight so Kaa should get a good idea of where he stands.
Mista Mara was expected to win at Cambridge last start but was outfinished by Beyond The Silence and that has put some doubts in Kaa’s mind about heading to Kaikoura on November 4 for the $50,000 Sales Series Pace.
“So he needs to back up well this week,” says Kaa.
“Maybe he had too hard a run last start but I still thought he would win.
“But one thing in our favour is he tends to come through hard runs well so he could go even better tonight.”
Mista Mara may need too though as he meets a quartet of smart mares in Three Jewels, Lively Nights, Bettor Romance and Harness Jewels runner-up Windinherhair, who has a good record fresh.
By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)