Aiken weighing-up Auckland
By Adam Hamilton
TOP Aussie trainer David Aiken has lots of thinking to do.
Aiken boasts one of the strongest barns of open-class horses – pacers and trotters – and no doubt Auckland officials would love him at Alexandra Park late this year for the Inter Dominion.
But he’s yet to sit down with key owner, Dom Martello, to nut-out plans for key horses Wrappers Delight and Big Jack Hammer.
“The first thing was to see how well both horses came back after their spells and those signs are good,” Aiken said.
“Wrappers Delight had no luck first-up, then won really well in fantastic time last run. That Inter Dominion series knocked him around last year, in retrospect he just wasn’t quite ready for it.
“I left us wondering if he’d come back as well after a break, but I’m pretty confident now he’s as good if not better than ever.”
Big Jack Hammer, who has a breakthrough first season in the big league with three Group 1 wins, has shown encouraging form with six runs this campaign netting two wins and two seconds in good company.
“I’m realistic with him. He’s a nice trotter, but not a star. Things went right for him last season, but still did a mighty job to go through the grades and win three Group 1’s,” Aiken said.
“He’s going to need luck and the right sorts of draws now in these better races. He can’t make his own luck, at least not at this stage.”
Wrappers Delight looks the one to beat again despite a back row (gate 10) in the VHRC Classic (2240m) at Melton on Saturday night.
“He’s headed to the Kilmore Cup at the end of this month and then the Victoria Cup on October 12,” Aiken said.
“That’s as far as we’ve got in planning so far. We’ve got Auckland to consider and those two big races in Perth in January would be in the mix as well.
“The main thing is he’s come back in terrific form and we’ve got plenty of options.”