Franco Nelson claims 2600m NZ record in resuming run
Even though he had performed well in a trial last week, driver John Dunn felt that Franco Nelson was up against it first up especially from his 45m handicap. However, after a brilliant beginning in which Franco Nelson quickly negated his handicap, his winning chances soared and eventually he went on for a win in NZ record time, an excellent pipe-opener ahead of his Easter Cup target in two weeks.
This was Franco Nelson's first start since his Perth inter-dom campaign and he was always expected to improve with the run. However, the class act that he is had other ideas, and after a bold move by John to lead from the 1000m, he showed his great staying prowess to hold off 10m marker Luciano that had the drop on him through most of the last lap, running home in 55.5 seconds for his last 800m and 27.7 for his last 400m, to round out the 2600m in 3.10.7, taking 0.4 seconds off Lazarus' record.
Friday night's win was Franco Nelson's 18th win from 62 starts and takes his stake-earnings to just under $750,000 for owners Clive and Rona McKay, Jenna Dunn and Mitzi Taylor. He has been a super horse and on this run, looks to have many more wins ahead of him.
Another stable runner heading towards the Easter Cup is Captain Dolmio. He was very good in the Resource Recycling Superstars, won by Lazarus. After trailling Lazarus early he then was relegated to three back the markers as Heaven Rocks powered to the lead inside the last mile. He retained that position until the 700m, when John elected to hop off and chase down the Purdon pair. However, that was a forlorn task, as the front two ran home in a stunning 53.6 for the last 800m with the last 400m in 26.6, as Lazarus rounded out a strong win by three quarters of a length in 2.16.8, with Captain Dolmio coming home strong for third, after looking likely to run only 5th on the turn. His too was a very good run.
Earlier in the night and trotter Foreverman got a well deserved win. He had been racing well, but without a lot of luck of late, but on Friday night, stepped like a toff, trailled the right runner throughout in The Foot Tapper and when pulled out turning for home, overpowered that runner to win by a neck in a very smart 3.17.3 for the 2600m stand. This was his second win since joining the Robert Dunn stable earlier this year and his 4th win overall from 50 starts for his owners, Gravel Plains Ltd.
The other notable performance on the night came from Billy Badger in the three year old Vero Flying stakes. After initially trailling, he was three back from the 1300m and ran on very strongly for 4th, once clear in the straight behind an impressive Ultimate Machete. He will now progress to this week's derby.
Posted: Sun 02 Apr 2017