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Robinson trio on song for Timaru Stakes

Riccarton trainer Lance Robinson will have numbers on his side as he prepares for Saturday's Listed Speight's Timaru Stakes (1400m) on his home track.

Robinson will produce the trio of Avaquinella, Live Drama and Khimar War, the first time he has had three runners in a stakes race.

"This has been their target all the way through, since Cup week, and the 7 f is perfect for them now," Robinson said.

"I'm pretty happy with all three. I'm not saying any are over the line but they are all really well. They are all working well and they're at 100 percent for this, so I'm sure they'll run well."

Avaquinella  heads the Robinson team as a $4.80 second favourite for the race behind the Mark Walker-trained Perfect Scenario at $4.20, with Live Drama at $10 and Khimar War at $15.

Proisir five-year-old mare Avaquinella won a 7 f open handicap at Riccarton during New Zealand Cup week in November before resuming with a fast-finishing fourth in the Listed Timaru Cup (1600m) last start.

"She's going terrific. I thought her Timaru Cup run was outstanding really," Robinson said.

"She got shunted wide on the corner but still pressed home really strongly in her first run since the Cup meeting - and that was at a mile.

"Back to 7 f, which is her pet distance at this stage, and she's on the lightweight of 53 kilos so she's got to be hard to beat.

"She's got a beautiful gate (barrier two) so should get a lovely run from there and Kavish (Chowdhoory, jockey) is riding in good form."

Neither Live Drama and Khimar War, who ran the quinella in last year's Listed Great Easter Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton, fired in the Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m) at Wingatui on Boxing Day but Robinson has already ruled a line through the race.

"Jason (Laking, jockey) said just forget about Live Drama's run," Robinson said.

"She got in a bit of trouble and ended up three wide and then the horse inside her came out and gave her a bit of a shove and she over-raced and felt awkward in her action and Jason thought there was a problem and pulled her up. 

"She's pulled up well and she's come through it with flying colours so we've just put a pen through the run."

Live Drama finished third in last year's race, having finished sixth in the Gr.1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham at her prior start.

Robinson described Khimar War's Hazlett run as "ordinary" but he felt it was the run of a horse looking for more distance.

"It was a terrible run. He went awful to be honest but his work since has been terrific and he loves a rock-hard track, which he'll get," Robinson said.

"His form doesn't read well but he had been going good races but getting awful trips. He's just one of those horses that hasn't been getting the rub of the green and with big weights.

"He drops to 54 kilos on Saturday and it's been a long, long time since he carried that weight."

Robinson's other runners at Riccarton are maiden Devil In Disguise and stable newcomer Tavi With Me.

"Devil In Disguise is fresh-up but he'll run well with the three-claimer Ace Lawson-Carroll on and Tavi With Me is first-up for our stable but her work has been excellent. She's had a lovely preparation down here and I'm really happy with her.

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