A solid gallop at Randwick on Tuesday has vastly experienced trackwork rider Allan Russell convinced Hardline is a top chance in one of New Zealand’s biggest juvenile races.
The Brisbane-trained Hardline impressed in winning at Doomben at his first start but was well-beaten into seventh behind Giulietta at Rosehill.
Hardline is being aimed at the Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 25 and is fourth favourite at $8.
He was scheduled to fly out of Sydney for Auckland on Tuesday night.
Trainer Liam Birchley was initially disappointed with Hardline’s Randwick run but felt it was a lot better than it looked.
“No horses really ran on that day and we got well back. I felt a lot better after seeing the pattern of the day,” Birchley said.
Birchley gave Hardline a jump-out wearing blinkers for the first time at Randwick on Friday and was pleased with the result.
Blake Shinn rode Hardline in the jump out but Birchley’s regular trackwork rider Russell flew to Sydney for Tuesday’s gallop.
Russell, a former top-line jockey who had a great association with champion Brisbane galloper Chief de Beers, is regarded as Brisbane’s best trackwork rider.
He will travel with Hardline to New Zealand and ride him in lead up work while Damian Browne will have the mount in the Karaka Million.
Birchley and Russell know all about winning the Karaka Million having taken the race with Sister Havana in 2010 and finishing second with Sarge In Charge a year later.
“Allan was happy with the work on Tuesday morning and now we just have to hope Hardline travels well,” Birchley said.
Hardline is the first Australian winner by Haunui Farm stallion Showcasing and cost $130,000 as a yearling.