American Tart aims for cup week double
A seven month period away from the track has done little in quelling the huge talent that American Tart has. A big win on cup day signalled to driver John Dunn that she is right on track for today's target the Southern Mares Classic.
The winner of her first three race starts back in the late summer/early autumn, American Tart's season ended prematurely as she suffered an atrial fibrillation when racing at the Northern Southland meeting at the start of April. Brought back to Canterbury she had one further start, before suffering an injury that saw her put aside and given time to recover.
Leading into her cup day win, American Tart had trialled up super and John was confident that she would produce a good run. But to say that she exceeded expectations is an understatement. Taken back from her second line draw, American Tart followed the three wide line into the race at the 1400m, before surging to the lead at the 1200m. She was travelling so well down the back that John continued to let her slide and coming to the turn she was simply going too well for her opponents. While she started to get a bit tired over the last 100m, the result was never in doubt as she went to the line a comfortable winner by one and a half lengths in 3.10.7 for the 2600m.
"I probably went way too early," said John after the race.
"She was just going super though and once we got the front she wanted to run. She was getting tired but it was a top run."
John is looking for a repeat win in today's mares race after winning the same race in 2015 with stable runner Art Critic. The American Ideal 4yr old has a great draw for today's race and John says he is pleased with her progress since cup day. She looks a terrific chance to finish harness racing's big week with a double.
The toughest opposition today is likely to come from two North Island mares in Aliante and Better Be Amazed. Both mares are quality racehorses and are in fine form. The downside for the two however, is the draw. Both will need to overcome wide draws as a result of the preferential draw condition of today's race.
Meanwhile, the great season for Franco Nelson so far, now sees him jet to Perth for the Inter-Dominions. While Lazarus was simply too good for his opposition in Tuesday's NZ Cup, Franco Nelson suffered from an interrupted run that saw him pushed right back to last going down the back the last time. When John finally found some clear air and launched his charge, he was facing an insurmountable task. While he made up huge ground to finish a good 6th, there was no doubt a case of what could have been.
The horse has come through the cup run well and desrves his chance to tackle Australia's best in this year's inter-doms, where the tight turning Gloucester Park track is certain to suit him.
Posted: Fri 11 Nov 2016