Spring racing starts to get serious this Friday at Addington
It has been acknowledged in recent seasons that the Maurice Holmes Vase is the first serious test for the cup class pacers and tomorrow night's field is testimony to this with some class pacers on show.
Representing the Robert Dunn stable in the 2016 edition of this race are Franco Nelson and Cullect A Guinness. Both horses have had a trial and workout to prepare them for their resumption and have pleased with what they have done.
An impressive workout win a fortnight ago showed that Franco Nelson has come back in fine fettle this season. Having stepped well, he then trailled stablemate Cullect A Guinness throughout. Allowed to pop out of the trail turning for home, Franco Nelson was able to get the better of Cullect A Guinness over the last 100m going to the line with purpose. While the workout was won in a sedate 3.25.7 for the 2600m stand, the closing sectionals were impressive, with the last 800m in 56 and the last 400m in 26.7.
A week later and the two stablemates were again on track at Rangiora in a workout run at a more serious clip. They both stepped well with Cullect A Guinness securing a nice trail and Franco Nelson settling three back in a solidly run first half mile. At the 1800m, it was the Easter Cup winner Locharburn that was launched by Dexter Dunn and he quickly found the top at the mile peg, controlling the race thereafter. He continued to set a solid tempo and was able to run home in some good sectionals - 56.3 and 28.4 to win the trial. Cullect A Guinness which had popped off a three back trail at the 500m stuck on well for second, beaten just three quarters of a length, while Franco Nelson wasn't asked for a serious effort, running home nicely for fifth, only four lengths off the winner.
John is happy with where both horses are at but conceded that hot favourite Locharburn would be the one to beat.
"He and Tiger Tara are the real class acts of the field and at this stage Locharburn looks the more forward of the two. He deserves to start at very short odds."
John who has been away on a family holiday in Australia felt that perhaps Franco Nelson had done a bit too well between his first up workout run and his trial the week later.
"It probably didn't look a great trial run to be fair but he can be a funny bugger to drive at times. If anything we may have been a bit easy on him between the two runs."
The plan for the two after tomorrow evening is to tackle the Hannon Memorial next weekend.
"Its likely we will go around with both of them and then they can have a bit of time off before getting ready for some of those bigger spring targets."
Posted: Thu 01 Sep 2016