News

Nairn can't choose

By Michael Guerin

Paul Nairn says a “fair handicap” has him confused going into the feature trot at Addington on Friday night.

The champion trainer of trotters brings the first of his big guns back to the track this week, with Anzac Cup winner Habibti Ivy kicking off her campaign in the same race as stablemate The Foot Tapper.

 As the Rowe Cup runner-up and a multiple national record holder Habibti Ivy deserves favouritism for the 2600m standing but Nairn says he can’t choose between the pair.

“She is a very, very good mare and a very good stayer but it is hard to win off a 30m handicap,” says Nairn.

 “So if they step and trot 3:19 or something off off the front and she has to come wide then she becomes vulnerable.”

And Nairn says The Foot Tapper, who made great progress after joining his team last season, is just the type of horse to do that.

 “He is really well and what he has on his side is his manners,” says Nairn.

“I think he could be the one to lead and run along so I really can’t decide between the two of them as my best winning chance this week.

“The handicap is really evened it up and made it fair.”

Meanwhile, Nairn’s Harness Jewels winner Wilma’s Mate has just started fast work and won’t be seen until October at the earliest, with the Flying Mile at Ashburton her first main aim.

Friday night’s trot is anything but a Nairn benefit, even though his famous colours -- those worn by the mighty Caduceus -- strike fear into bookmakers, with the likes of Harriet Of Mot, Hey Yo, Petite One and Arya all good enough to win under the right circumstances.

The feature pace of the night sees the first steps on the path to the New Zealand Cup for last season’s third placegetter in the great race Titan Banner.

Now back with Graeme Anderson after a wonderful season that ended on an Easter Cup low when he was sick, Titan Banner may not have the race fitness of some of his rivals but he has a great record when fresh.

 And the reality is, while rivals like stablemate New Years Jay and Art Union are good, open class level horses, Titan Banner has won at close to the highest level so deserves favouritism.