Air Max seeking guineas treble

The Lance Robinson-trained Air Max, seen here winning the Gore Guineas last month, will start...
The Lance Robinson-trained Air Max, seen here winning the Gore Guineas last month, will start favourite in the Southland Guineas at Ascot Park tomorrow. Photo: Wild Range Photography
Air Max could seal an epic rise through the ranks of 3yr-olds if he makes a clean sweep of the southern guineas races at Ascot Park tomorrow.

The Lance Robinson-trained galloper will attempt to complete the rare feat by adding the Southland Guineas to his Gore and Dunedin Guineas wins.

Robinson said Air Max had thrived since his fast-finishing victory in the Dunedin Guineas at Wingatui earlier this month.

"He's come through in fantastic order and we're really happy with him," he said of the Nadeem gelding

The trip to Ascot Park for the 1600m feature will be Air Max's biggest trip away from his Riccarton stable.

That is something Robinson is wary of.

"He's done a lot of travelling. It's his third trip down south.

"He's only a 3yr-old but he's handling it really well, so there's no reason why we shouldn't go, but the travelling does concern me."

Air Max was a relatively unknown maiden before producing a huge finish from near last to win the Gore Guineas on January 19.

Robinson said patience had played an important part the horse's rise.

"We were very patient with him. We trialled him three times before he went to the races. We really looked after him and it's paid off now.

"He showed us ability right from day one."

Robinson said he would consider a North Island campaign for Air Max if he raced well tomorrow.

If he came through in good order, "there'd be a good chance that we would push on for the Wellington Guineas," he said.

Air Max was shuffled back to midfield before bursting between runners at Wingatui.

Robinson hopes the horse can land a good position close to the speed from barrier 5 tomorrow.

"He's drawn 5, which is a good draw. He should be able to just lob along somewhere in behind them on the speed and we'll work it out from there."

Fellow Riccarton trainer Danny Crozier was left wondering what might have been after Upscale was trapped wide in the Dunedin Guineas.

After drawing barrier 9, the filly charged home to get within three-quarters of a length of Air Max.

"If she draws a gate and swap the runs, she wins," Crozier said.

"She drew wide and she was three wide for the entirety and still had the audacity to hit the line."

Upscale will start from a much better spot tomorrow in barrier 4.

Like Air Max, she has thrived since her Wingatui run.

"She has come through the race super. You would not even know she had gone around."

Weaponry was shut out of the same gap Air Max used to run to victory at Wingatui. That meant the Jamie Richards-trained gelding could not be fully extended in either of the first two southern guineas races.

Weaponry was rated by the TAB yesterday as the $2.80 second-favourite for the Southland Guineas, behind Air Max at $2.60. Upscale was rated a $5.50 third-favourite.

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