Te Kawau looking for a double

By Duane Ranger
The Central Districts’ best pacer will have his third driver in three starts when he contests the $15,000 Manawatu Cup in Palmerston North on Sunday.
Te Kawau, aka the ‘Prince of Palmy’ will be driven by Ricky May on the second day of the two-day Manawatu meeting.
His drive will come seven races after the first event – the $6,000 Ricky and Judy May sponsored Handicap Trot.
“That’s awesome I’m driving Te Kawau. I might have a winning drive now,” May joked.
Te Kawau notched up his ninth win in 26 starts when winning last night’s (Thursday) $13,000 Palmerstonian Pace on his home track.
The 4-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight never looked like losing once he hit the lead down the back straight the first time.
The $2.20 favourite won by a head from stablemate and second favourite, Alta Leroy. He paced the 2000m mobile in 2:27.9 (mile rate 1:59) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 57.5 and 28.4.
Trainer Stephen Doody took over the driving duties of Te Kawau last night because he wanted to see exactly where his stable star is at.
“Todd (Mitchell) usually drives him but I said to him we will swap this time. You drive Alta Leroy and I’ll drive Te Kawau.
“He’s a funny we horse who just goes for it. That race will have cleaned him out nicely for Sunday. I told Ricky earlier in the week that I would like him to drive Te Kawau. He was rapt,” Doody said.
Doody said Mitchell would remain behind Alta Leroy on Sunday, while he would watch the race from the grandstand.
“I’ve done what I’ve had to and I’m confident both horses will go well in the (Manawatu) Cup. I tell you Alta Leroy isn’t much inferior to Te Kawau. In fact if they were the same stage of their racing careers there would be little between them.
“You have to remember Alta Leroy has only had five starts and won three of them and finished twice second.
“He’s drawn nicely at three whereas Te Kawau is going to have to work a bit to win from four on the second line,” Doody said.
He said he had fielded offers for Alta Leroy but the price just wasn’t right.
As for Te Kawau he will contest the major 4-year-old races at Alexandra Park in April in May.
“He goes at a hell of a speed and has copped some awkward draws in Auckland. He likes Palmerston North. He’s won five of his seven starts at Manawatu.
“Be warned though, Alta Leroy could take some catching off the front. I really like him,” Doody said.