A review of the features at Addington

NZ HARNESS NEWS

It was a tale of two stories following the running of the time-honoured Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington last night.

On one hand the Ford family was rapt with the winning return of Marcoola after he’d been off the scene since Cup Day last year, while on the other there were immediate concerns for Dominion Handicap winner Amaretto Sun after he dropped out from the 600m and finished a long way from them.

“It felt like he’d broken down in behind so I just pulled him up,” said driver Sheree Tomlinson.

Trainer Ken Ford later conceded they should never have started Amaretto Sun however.

“He’d come down with a virus during the week and while we thought he’d be okay, clearly he was not,” said Ford.

“He went bloody good when winning at the Methven trials last weekend, but he was nowhere near as forward as Marcoola and we shouldn’t have rushed him back.”

Marcoola gave Ford good reason to celebrate his 70th birthday though when he put a forgettable five-year-old season behind him and recorded his first win since a 12-length romp in the Trotters Flying Mile at Cambridge in December of 2016.

The Sundon entire did plenty of work during the first lap although he was lucky to get a good run in the trail for the last lap after War Machine galloped.

Marcoola rallied up the passing to score by a nose over roughie Harrysul in a blanket finish, where Habibi Inta and Destiny Jones dead-heated for third and less than half a length covered the first five home.

The rest had various excuses including simply not being ready to trot 3.13.6 so early in their campaigns.

“I’m really happy with the horse but not so happy with myself, being trapped three wide and having to press forward to be parked, but it worked out in the end I guess,” said co-owner and driver Clint Ford.

“That was a big ask because he hadn’t really done much, but it’s great that he’s been feeling like his old self again.

“He hadn’t been asked to work better than 4.40 at home and in his two trials I’d really just followed them around.”

Last season came to an abrupt end after he dropped out in the Trotting Free For All on Cup Day last year and he began a new campaign “six months ago to the day”.

He’d been troubled by quarter cracks in both front feet but the real issue was later found to be stomach ulcers.

“He was a very sick horse but it took a while to get to the bottom of things because he’d always try his heart out despite not being well,” said Ford.

Marcoola will now head to the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup in three weeks’ time rather than the Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup five days earlier.

“We’ll avoid Motukarara because that track can become quite tricky if there’s any rain about.

“Sheemon raced there once when it was wet and was never the same again.”

* * * * *

Later there was another blanket finish in another time-honoured event, the New Brighton Cup, where Letspendanitetogetha also scored by a nose over Harrysul’s stablemate A G’s Whitesocks with half a neck to the dead-heaters Forgotten Highway and Thefixer.

Mark Purdon had no excuses for the latter’s bubble bursting and he immediately abandoned plans to tackle the Victoria Cup next month.

Letspendanitetogetha’s co-owner Reg Storer was rapt to secure his first New Zealand Cup starter however and wasn’t surprised by the 50-to-one outcome following upbeat advice from John Dunn.

“John has always said he was a Cup horse and it was only a matter of time before he proved it,” said Storer.

“He’d missed away in his first two races this season and you can’t afford to be doing that in top company.

“I had a good bet on him and it was really exciting when he came charging home from the tail of the field.”

Storer was a lot more confident than his other co-owner Terry McDonald, a renowned punter who admitted to being “a disbeliever” and only backing Letspendanitetogetha for a place, but he was happy to be proven wrong.

Robert Dunn was on hand with John on the sidelines and with four runners engaged, Jimmy Curtin handled Letspendanitetogetha for the first time.

Curtin drove Terror To Love in his first New Zealand Cup win for McDonald although Ricky May was at the helm when he won his two New Brighton Cups.

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