News

McGrath team fire up

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Weedons trainer Nigel McGrath, who sits on 495 career training wins, says Motukarara grass-track winners Goodlookin Chick and My Wee Man will target the Methven Cup meeting on October 15.

He said getting to 500 is not worrying him at all, but his two Sunday winners could soon put him right on the cusp, with open-class pacers Classie Brigade, Ears Burning and Maverick due to resume in the $35,000 Methven Cup (3000m stand).

Stablemates Aloka, Star Commander and Sheriff  line up in the NZ Sires Stakes (1950m, mobile) heat on Friday night at Addington, but face tough tasks fresh-up against the unbeaten Chase Auckland and high-class colt The Devils Own.

“It won’t be easy first-up, they’ve got a long year coming up but trialled nicely last Wednesday,’’ said McGrath.

‘’They all seem really well, but they will improve on it the following week. They’re all really nice horses and it’s looking pretty promising at this stage.’’

McGrath said Harness Jewels 2YO fillies winner Dizzy Miss Lizzy (by Changeover) is back fast working and will trial in about three weeks as she prepares for races at Auckland over the Christmas-New Year period.

Goodlookin Chick (three wins) was tough at Banks Peninsula, racing three wide for leading driver Blair Orange over the last 800m, but proving too strong up the long straight.

“She also raced well at the start of last season but then got sick and suffered an injury,’’ said McGrath.

“She seems to be over that and seems to be getting better each week. They are both doing a good job for us.’’

He says My Wee Man (two wins) isn’t finished yet and will relish the higher speed up the grades.

 “I think he’ll go really well up the grades when he can follow the speed and not have to make it. He is a pretty good stayer.’’

Proven stayer Classie Brigade, who won the Ashburton and Invercargill Cups over 3200m last season, had a quiet workout at Methven last Saturday with Ears Burning and Maverick.

“They had a fair bit of rain there and we didn’t want them to do too much on a wet grass track. They just ran around and had a bit of a blow. The three of them will head back there next Saturday for another run., where we could get more serious.

“All going well they will have their first starts in the Methven Cup the following weekend.’’

Orange will drive Classie Brigade in the $800,000 NZ Cup on November 14, while McGrath will handle Ears Burning if he makes the field.