Five down, five to go for The Race
by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
The Race is now half full. Northern star Hot and Treacherous has become the fifth horse to be confirmed for New Zealand's first ever slot race, the $900,000 The Race at Cambridge on April 14.
Trained by the father and son partnership of Brian and Gareth Hughes, Hot And Treacherous will race for slot-holder the Honey Bros. John Green is a director of the company and has a long association with the Hughes, having trained with Brian for a decade till 2013.
The four-year-old gelding has been in fine form, winning the Summer Cup at Alexandra Park last month, and finishing third to Self Assured and South Coast Arden in recent starts.
After the Summer Cup driver Maurice McKendry said that The Race could well be a target.
"He is up to them now and if he drew well he could give it a shake."
Hot and Treacherous joins four others that have so far been confirmed for The Race, along with Self Assured (SENZ), Pembrook Playboy (Dunstan Horse Feeds), Krug (Aussie Lads), and Stylish Memphis (Barrett Homes). That means five places have been confirmed, with five left.
Stylish Memphis was only confirmed yesterday, with trainer Mark Jones saying the fact that she's bound to get a great draw is a huge factor behind the decision to press ahead.
Because she's a mare (and likely to be the only mare in the race) she gets in well under the Preferential Draw system which favours three-year-olds and then mares, ahead of the "boys".
So as long as the race doesn't attract the likes of three-year-old star Akuta, and no other mares then Stylish Memphis will start from the most coveted draw of all.
"The attraction is definitely being number one over 2200 metres at Cambridge," says trainer Mark Jones, "she's got good gate speed and will get a great run on the markers."
Barrett Homes is a Bay of Plenty-based business and one of its directors is Grant Eynon. He's owned a number of top horses, including Classie Brigade.
"He's a good keen racing man," says Jones.
Stylish Memphis comes into the race after four wins and a second in Australia this year, and Jones is confident of a good showing from his glamour mare.
"A top four finish would be good, but if she gets a good run she's definitely capable of finishing top three."