A happy Nelson is a good Nelson
It was supposed to be the return of the big hitters, but no one bothered to tell Franco Nelson.
Then again, perhaps the born again pacer, who finished second in the 2014 edition of the New Zealand Trotting Cup is no longer a member of the chasing bunch either…his victory last night a prime example.
There was an air of confidence around the Robert Dunn team prior to the Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup despite the fact that the likes of Have Faith In Me, Christen Me, Lazarus and Smolda were all joining the fray for the first time in this Cup build up.
And the confidence proved to be right on the money.
And John Dunn, who got to view the victory from the best seat in the house, put the rejuvenation and grand run of form down to one simple formula.
“We keep the horse happy and in turn he’s happy to be out there racing,” Dunn said.
“He’s really sound at the moment and is just in a good space and it’s showing with how well he is going.
“We needed to get a run like we got out there tonight to bring us into it and luckily everything fell into place.”
The major asset in the weaponry of Franco Nelson so far this season has been his stand start manners.
They worked the oracle again last night after Dunn was able to lead early before handing up to an intent Christen Me – resulting in a dream run in the trail throughout.
“The manners are a big help, it means we can get in the best possible position early on.”
Raced by the estate of Sharon McKay, Clive and Rona McKay, Jenna Dunn and Mitzi Taylor, Franco Nelson will head towards the Canterbury Classic in a fortnight with the Ashburton Flying Stakes, at this stage, not on the radar.
“He’s got a horrible record at Ashburton. It’s not really his sort of track so we will probably miss there.
“Kaikoura is a possibility though.”
Of the beaten brigade last night Christen Me was fantastic in his first up run after working hard.
Dexter Dunn said it was never his intention to lead but the gelding began that well he felt he had no choice.
“He’s gone great, I didn’t want to lead but it just sort of happened. He fought really strongly to the line so it’s a good start.”
Cran Dalgety will make a decision in the next 48 hours on what he does next with Christen Me – but the Canterbury Classic is back on the radar.
A little further down the Addington stabling block, Mark Purdon could hardly contain his enthusiasm after the performance of Lazarus to finish third.
The four-year-old made up a stack of ground along the markers after being slow away – leaving Purdon, often the harshest of critics, suitably impressed.
“He’s gone fantastic. It really was a truly great run. I had him a little too close to the tape at the start and he just panicked but it’s something I’m confident we can get sorted.
“But as far as starting points go, I’m really happy.”
TAB Bookmakers reacted to the run by installing Lazarus an incredible $2.70 favourite for the New Zealand Trotting Cup with a few decent bets coming in straight away.
Natalie Rasmussen, Purdon’s training partner was equally as happy with her drive, Have Faith In Me who finished fourth.
The Miracle Mile winner was slow away as well and then worked four wide from the 800 metre mark – fighting strongly to the line.
“He’s gone good we were four wide and I didn’t really want to push him too hard first up.”
Life wasn’t quite so rosy for Locharburn who made a hash of the start and then worked hard to get outside Christen Me before tiring from the top of the straight.
Article by Matt Markham
Posted: Wed 28 Sep 2016