Improving youngster Hard Merchandize ticks a number of boxes on his trainer's check list ahead of a stiff home track test on Saturday.
The Awapuni-trained representative hasn't missed a beat in his lead up to the Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes.
"I'm really happy with him," trainer Gary Vile said. "He's done well since he last raced, his work has been great, the 1400 metres will suit him and he likes a wet track."
Hard Merchandize was a debut winner at Otaki in November before a break and he resumed with a third placing at Trentham a fortnight ago.
"I thought he ran really well. He was caught wide and he'd only had an 800 metre trial so he was always going to be a bit vulnerable," Vile said.
"He learned a bit more as well so I thought, all in all, he was pretty good."
The stable also has Leading Role in the Gr.3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic with Vile desperate for a change in the three-year-old's fortunes.
"He just needs some luck, he's been carved up both times he went to Ellerslie," he said. "He just needs a break in the running."
He was referring to Leading Role's unplaced runs in the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas and in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby.
Meanwhile, stablemate Miss Contessa could provide a confidence-booster ahead of the weekend when she runs in the I.G & R.J Hackett Farrier and Racing Maiden at Wanganui on Thursday.
She was runner-up on debut on the course earlier this month following a trial win in the hands of Johnathan Parkes.
"She's trained on well and she's drawn a bit wide again, but she's got gate speed so Johnathan should be able to get her across," Vile said.