Karaka 3YO Million winner Scott Base (Image: Sharon Chapman)
Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard are hoping to kick off a potential Cox Plate program with Scott Base in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings.
Benner knows a thing or two about the horse to come closest to ending Winx's Cox Plate domination, as he trained Humidor in New Zealand before he transferred to Darren Weir's stable in the 2016-17 season.
Benner confirmed that Scott Base's name will be in the nominations for the Group 1 $5million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 when entries close on Tuesday.
"I'll be putting a nomination in," Benner said. "We'll be taking it run by run, but it would be great if he could get there. He deserves to be nominated."
The champion Winx will be chasing an unprecedented fourth win in the Cox Plate, for which first acceptances close on September 11 - 10 days after the Tarzino Trophy.
Scott Base, a son of Dalghar, is currently lying 18th in order of entry for the Tarzino Trophy and new stablemate Wyndspelle is equal 16th with Son Of Maher.
"They start 16 in the Tarzino so Wyndspelle should get in and I'm hoping there will be a few dropouts so Scott Base gets in, too. It will be an injustice if he doesn't get in," Benner said.
Scott Base has four wins and four placings from a dozen starts and last raced when he produced a huge performance to take the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham on March 17. Despite being hampered inside the final 200 metres, he charged through to win by a nose.
"He had no right to win that day with the run he got," Benner said. "That showed how good he is."
Two starts earlier, Scott Base had won the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie and between times he was fourth behind On The Rocks in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) when again suffering a rocky passage.
"He's in great order and will trial at either Foxton (August 21) or a day later at Taupo," said Benner. "He races really well fresh so he'll need just the one trial before the Tarzino."
Scott Base is also nominated for the other two legs of the Hawke's Bay Triple Crown, the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 22 and the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) on October 6.
Wyndspelle also holds nominations for each of the Hastings weight-for-age Group 1 events and Benner is very pleased with him.
"He's a lovely type and he's settled in well here," Benner said.
The Iffraaj five-year-old entire made his first public appearance from the Benner-Wynyard stable when running on late down the outside for fifth in an open 850-metre trial at Foxton last Wednesday.
"It was a quiet trial and short of his best, but it will bring him on," said Benner. "Like Scott Base, he will go to either the next lot of Foxton trials or Taupo.
"He'll then follow the Hastings races through and should be more competitive when he gets to the 1600m."
Wyndspelle began his career with Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs at Ruakaka, picking up two wins and six placings.
His best win came in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa and, as well as a third in the Group 2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) on the same track, he was fifth in both the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m).
He was then sent to Melbourne trainer Mick Kent and, though he failed to win in Australia, he recorded six placings in 11 starts with the best effort being a third in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last November.
WATCH: Wyndspelle's Group 1 placing