Willing to forgive

By Michael Guerin

Punters should be willing to forgive talented trotter Lemond for burning them at Alexandra Park last Friday.

Because trainer Ross Paynter says it was his failed experiment which might have brought the exciting five-year-old undone and hopes reverting back to the tried and true will help in this week’s Greenlane Cup.

Lemond is a genuine group one horse, finishing second in the Anzac Cup as just a four-year-old last season but with an injury-ravaged open class crop this season that comes at a price.

For much of the season Lemond faces racing off handicaps against intermediate grade opposition because there are few open class trots in the north outside the biggest two carnivals. And Paynter knows that can make for some near mission impossible races.

“Take this week, I’ve got his full brother Il Parata in the same race as Lemond and while he isn’t anywhere as good he can trot 3:28 off the front for 2700m,” says Paynter.

 “Which means Lemond might have to come three and four wide and trot 3:24 to win.

 “I think he can do that and win at his best but but its very hard to do. And clearly last week he wasn’t at his best.”

 Paynter says that was because he tried Lemond in flip flop shoes, to reduce the concussion effect on his legs, particularly his off side fetlock.

 “He has a few problems in that area last campaign and we thought the flip flops would help. He trialled well in them but he just couldn’t get going last Friday so we have taken those off.

 “He actually wears quite heavy metal shoes, his whole family can be like that and I put those back on him on Monday and he trotted a lot better today (Tuesday).”
 Lemond still faces a 30m handicap against handy but hardly frightening opposition so the best version of him could win.

 “But I still think he might be just below his best fitness wise so it will be a big test.

 “But he will definitely go better than last week.”

 The trot looks one of the trickier features on a night where the pacing group races will have a lot shorter favourites.

 The market for the Woodlands Northern Derby will be released today, with Chase Auckland certain to be favourite.