A day to day proposition
By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk
The Hopes are treading very carefully with their topline trotter Enghien.
The now six-year-old Love You gelding’s on the comeback trail (again) and his latest baby steps were at the midweek Rangiora trials. And according to driver Ben Hope the signs were “encouraging”.
After stepping cleanly Hope eased Enghien into the one-one and then went to the line under a good hold to finish a close up fifth.
“He’s been really good this time in, we’ve been really happy with him.”
Enghien is trained by Ben’s parents Greg and Nina Hope and raced by Greg and long-time client Richard Dellaca. He has long been touted as the stable’s heir apparent to former champion and two-time trotter of the year Monbet.
Enghien won eight in a row in 2017 but he has been plagued by leg injuries, and missed his entire five-year-old season. In 2019 he was unplaced in four starts with his best being a fifth in the Group 2 Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington, won by Sundees Son.
Overall the horse has won 15 from 29 and earnings of $377,441, with his last victory coming at Addington in May 2018.
Now, more than two years on, the Hopes are cautious about his chances of recapturing his former glory, knowing his legs are far from bullet-proof.
“He’s a day to day proposition. If we can keep him sound he’s up to the very elite,” said Ben.
“Monbet’s got a better gait but on ability there’s not too much between them I don’t think when they are at their very best.”
More trials and work-outs are on the immediate agenda and all going well – and there’s a lot of finger crossing to be done between now and Cup week - the ultimate would be the Dominion Handicap, a race won by Monbet in 2016.