A G’s White Socks must improve manners
By Jonny Turner
By Jonny Turner
Some say the older you get, the wiser you get, but that does not appear to be the case for Hannon Memorial contender A G’s White Socks.
The Greg And Nina Hope trained 6yr-old will attempt to go one better than his runner-up effort behind Dream About Me, in this year’s race, at Oamaru on Sunday.
Twelve months ago, A G’s White Socks pinged away from the standing start tapes to lead, before just going down in an action-packed finish.
The chances of the pacer making the same kind of beginning, this year, look bleak if his recent manners are anything to go by.
The formerly brilliant beginner has developed a habit of putting in some rough strides after stepping off the mark.
And it is not only giving his driver, Ricky May, a headache.
It is giving away a major advantage to his rivals.
That was evident when A G’s White Socks began quickly, before putting in some rough steps, and had to settle three back on the markers in Chase Auckland’s New Brighton Cup.
“At the start he made flyer actually, he was in front and then he put some skips in,” May said.
“It sort of cost him leading really, the other horse [Chase Auckland] headed me off.”
“If he had have been in front it would have been a different story.”
A G’s White Socks was effectively out of play when Chase Auckland paced his last 800m in 54 5sec from the front to win.
Though he only looked to battle in to fourth, A G’s White Socks’ was timed to pace exactly the same final last split as the winner did.
That effort backed up the 6yr-old’s 54.2sec last 800m in his first start for the season behind Classie Brigade in the Maurice Holmes Vase.
The pacer’s fast finishes and the feel he has given his driver have May convinced the horse is thriving.
“I still feel as though he has been going good and he went real good in his first start back, as well.”
“He has got a lot of speed and he proved that at the end of last season.”
“He is not far away, he has just go to stop putting a few rough steps at the start.”
“It is a bit disappointing, really, we just hope he gets through it.”
A G’s White Socks trailed the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained trio of Chase Auckland, Spankem and Ultimate Sniper home in the New Brighton Cup.
Spankem produced even more impressive sectionals, when speeding home wide on the track to grab second placing in the event.
Like, A G’s White Socks, the Miracle Mile winner was a stride slow to begin and settled back in the field, while Chase Auckland had control of the race in front.
If Spankem repeats the sizzling 54.0sec last 800m and 25.3sec last 800m he produced at Addington he must be the horse to beat in the Hannon Memorial.
Chase Auckland boosted New Zealand Cup claims in what was effectively his first taste of open class racing against older horses with his good win in the New Brighton Cup.
A repeat of that effort, including the standing start manners he showed, will make him highly competitive again.
Ultimate Sniper could not match Chase Auckland or Spankem after having a good run in the trail when they clashed at Addington.
The horse was presented in bigger condition than his stablemates and could be the biggest improver of the trio at Oamaru.
The Hannon Memorial has been robbed of one of its most interesting talking points by the scratching of Southland sensation U May Cullect
The Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis trained pacer was found to be suffering from a stone bruise on Saturday morning.
Barclay said though the problem was only a minor one, but there was no sense in racing the horse.
If U May Cullect’s hoof heals as expected, he will head to Addington for next month’s Canterbury Classic.