A rare opportunity for Telfer

By Michael Guerin (NZ Herald)

The elongated pacing season has provided top northern harness trainer Steve Telfer with a rare opportunity.

And he admits it is one he could get used to.

Telfer could find himself in the rare situation of having the favourite for a $200,000 race come the end of next month with B D Joe in the NZBS Harness

Million at Alexandra Park.

The three-year-old pacer has been the big improver of his age group this spring, going from maiden to being beaten only a head in the group one Sires’ Stakes at Addington in the space of two months.

That confirmed he is one of the best of his age and now his chances of winning the rich Sales Series race have improved enormously with not one but two of the big boys to miss the race.

Both Krug and It’s All About Faith, the latter having beaten B D Joe at Addington, are going to miss the upcoming Auckland carnival and therefore the Harness Million.

While trainers turning their backs on $200,000 races is unusual in this country the reality is both horses have come to end of brutal campaigns that have seen them up and down New Zealand racing each other every few weeks after coming back into work in winter.

The hectic schedule came about because the two-year-old feature which would usually be run in May at Addington were changed to Alexandra Park in September so plenty of this three-year-old crop have needed a break.

B D Joe had a week off after the Cup carnival in Christchurch and Telfer admits it is exciting to have a huge-race target without the imposing shadow of the All Stars elite and a horse like Krug hanging over it.

“It doesn’t happen very often us other trainers having horses who might be favoured in a $200,000 race so it is exciting,” says Telfer.

“We think a lot of this horse, he has come so far so quickly and we think we might be the best horses we have had (at Stonewall Stud).

“He worked well on Saturday, will trial this Saturday and then race in the Alabar Classic on Friday week.

“And he might even have another start after that before the Harness Million but for now he is big and strong.”

Telfer will also have Triple Eight and Check In aimed at the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve at an important time for the stable and breeding operation which has become such a major player in harness racing.

“We are having a big open day for about 150 of our owners this Sunday to show them around the next stables we just finished so with that and the horses we have it is a pretty exciting time.”

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