News & Events

Franco Ledger's heading to the Cup

Courtesy of Harnesslink.

Southland pacer Franco Ledger has won his way into New Zealand's most prestigious harness racing event - the $600,000 Christchurch New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway on November 13.

The Ryal Bush 5-year-old put in a bold late sprint to win Friday night's qualifying race - the $25,000 Group Three Maurice Holmes Vase.

Franco Ledger's trainer-driver Hamish Hunter was nonchalant about the son of Falcon Seelster's 13th victory in 32 starts.

"It's great to qualify for the Cup but that's still a long way away. A week is a long time in harness racing. The main aim now is the Hannon Memorial (Oamaru) on Sunday week," Hunter said.

Franco Ledger was buried along the markers and was forced to hook very wide on the turn. He was giving most of his opposition a couple of lengths head-start swinging in and he stormed down the outer to beat Franco Emirate (Jim Curtin) and Rangataua Ray (Robbie Holmes) by a neck and 1-1/2 lengths.

Winner's time for the 2600m stand: 3:13.5. Mile rate: 1:59.7. Last 800m: 56.4. Last 400m: 28.4. Winning dividend: $11.00.

Hunter said it was an exciting race and was pleased his stable star got an economical run along the markers.

"The whole field looked flat down the back and then at the top. Everyone was struggling and my fella rounded them up well.

"It's a big thrill for everyone, especially the owners," Hunter said.

Those owners are the What Ever Syndicate and Hunter. If you don't see them on Cup Day, you will certainly hear the large contingent of them.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand TAB's Wellington-based harness racing bookmaker, Steve Richardson, said Franco Ledger opened at $26 to win the New Zealand Cup and when the book closed Friday night he was at $16.

"He will now be at $13," Richardson told Harnesslink.

Franco Ledger has now won just on $150,000 in purses.