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Donna Logan is getting used to winning three-year-old races at Ellerslie in January, but she felt unusually nervous about Volkstok’n’barrell on Thursday.

As it turned out she didn’t have to be as the Tavistock gelding justified his $2.40 quote in the Group Two Great Northern Guineas (1600m), all but securing favouritism for the New Zealand Derby in March.

Logan won feature races over the last two New Year carnivals at Ellerslie with Habibi and Rising Romance, both of which ran strongly in the Derby later that season, but she said she felt more worried about Volkstok’n’barrell, who had won three on end.

“There’s always a bit of pressure when you get a good horse and everybody keeps labelling them, so I felt the pressure today and I don’t usually,” she said.

“But he just doesn’t like to let them get past him. We tried a different style of riding him today, so we were going to be vulnerable, but he did the job.”

With a wide draw, jockey Matt Cameron pushed forward on Volkstok’n’barrell, and he was left in front shortly after the home turn.

But despite Rockfast looking set to run past him, Volkstok’n’barrell never flinched.

“He was just playing games with them,” Cameron said.

Volkstok’n’barrell will head next for the Karaka Million in late January and then the Avondale Guineas before the Derby in late February.

Logan said her thoughts were with co-trainer Dean Logan, who is battling throat cancer.

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