Cannon Hill’s performance in Saturday’s age group feature at Pukekohe will determine the summer path for the colt.
The son of Ardrossan has earned his first crack at black-type in the Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m), which will give trainer Tony Pike a clearer guide on where the three-year-old is best placed for the rest of the campaign.
“He’s still a bit immature, but he’s heading the right way and it’s a small but quality line-up. It will be interesting to see how he fits in,” he said.
“Obviously, there are some very nice races coming up in the next couple of months, one is at Group One level (Levin Classic, 1600m) and one’s worth a lot of money ($1.5 million Karaka Million, 1600m).
“It would be nice to think he would be heading that way, if not then there’s plenty of other options around through the summer and autumn.”
To be ridden by Masa Hashizume, Cannon Hill won his first two starts this preparation before he finished third last time out over this course and distance.
“He travelled up like the winner in that race and it was still a good, solid run for a horse still learning his trade,” Pike said.
“We’ve changed the blinkers to visor blinkers this weekend, which will hopefully help him and he’s really well.”
Pike will also be represented by Slipper Island and Tellall in the Stella Artois Championship Qualifier (1400m).
Ryan Elliot will partner the former while apprentice Tristan Moodley has been booked for Tellall.
“Slipper Island has drawn to get a lovely trip behind the speed. It’s a good quality Rating 75 and he should be hitting his peak after his fresh-up run,” Pike said.
“Tellall has come back from injury and his run at Tauranga on a wet track, which he hates, was reasonable but he is a very hard horse to place at the moment.
“He’s struggling in open handicap grade, so we’ve dropped him back with a claim and he’s going to need a lot of luck from that barrier (14).”