Excitement levels high with return of Sundees Son
After finishing the 2017-2018 season as New Zealand's most in-form trotter - Rowe Cup and Harness Jewels victories included - Sundees Son is back and looking to launch his new season campaign. He meets a talented field in his resumption tonight that includes the comeback king Monbet from the Greg and Nina Hope stable.
Always a talented trotter, Sundees Son mixed it with the best of his age as a two and three year old. However, in many of the late season features he proved his own worst enemy breaking at key times. As a four year old last season, the penny finally clicked and in the backend of the season, he stepped up to be counted against the very best. A Group One second behind top trotter Speeding Spur at Addington in April was then followed by a string of victories all at Group One. A stunning victory in the Anzac Cup was followed a week later by a comprehensive win in the Rowe Cup. Just for good measure he rounded out a fantastic season with another dominant win in the Harness Jewels at Addington.
Following the Harness Jewels Sundees Son was given a 5-6 week break before beginning work for new season targets that include November's Dominion Handicap. He returned to the track last week, winning a sedately run trial at Rangiora over the 2600m, the distance of tonight's race. John was very happy with that run and his general preparedness for tonight.
"It was just a quiet run last week, but we got out of it what we wanted," said John.
"He hadn't had a long break seeing as he kept going for the jewels, so it didn't take long for him to come to hand."
"It is a nice field tonight and from the handicap it won't be easy. I just hope he gets through the run safely and gets a good hit out under the belt before next week's race. (The Group Three Ordeal Trotting Cup)
"He feels strong and is fit and sound, so I am expecting a good run."
There will be plenty of interest in the race with the Hope pair of Monbet and Enghien both on the comeback trail, while Harriet Of Mot always seems to fire in the early spring.
Unfortunately for the stable and owner Colin Hair, Woodstone has had to be scratched tonight. John is hoping that he may also come back into calculations for next week.
It is a quiet sort of night for the stable with just three other runners engaged.
First to step out is Awesome Speed in Race Three for the juniors with Simon Smith to drive.
"She is actually racing a lot better than what her form suggests," said John.
"She was pretty stiff last week after getting caught up on the markers. If I'd got a good shot at them she would definitely have gone close."
From the wide draw tonight, she will definitely need some luck, but looks a good place hope in an even sort of field.
Next up it is the turn of The Player in Race Five. In just two starts for the stable since coming south he has been a first up winner and then ran a very good second last week.
"He was good last week. He stepped really well but had to do a wee bit early. He then copped a bit of pressure during the race. I thought he kicked on very good."
"This is a step up again for him tonight, but he is pretty honest and shouldn't be far away."
The final stable runner on the night is Manly Olsen in the last.
"Another very honest horse this one and he is improving all the time and building towards that first win."
In what is a nice field of maidens, he should again be in for some share of the spoils.
John has two outside drives tonight in All Nuts N Bolts in Race Two and Glenthorne in Race Four. Both horses are in good form and rate as eachway chances.
Posted: Fri 06 Sep 2019