Alta Maestro heads star cast at Rangiora trials

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Alta Maestro looked big and strong when downing Forgotten Highway and Raukapuka Ruler in the main pacing heat on a strong day of trials at Rangiora on Wednesday.

The four-year-old Art Major entire held Forgotten Highway comfortably as they tramped home in 55.2 and 27 after walking the middle stages.

Early New Zealand Cup favourite Ultimate Machete was tardy from the back mark of 30 metres and, while he was able to tack on when the pace eased, he was not knocked around by co-trainer Mark Purdon.

Eamon Maguire finished strongly for fourth for Tim Williams after also starting from a handicap and Ohanzee also beat Ultimate Machete home.

Great Things Happen, a Group 1 winner last season for trainer/driver Gavin Smith, showed his fitness with an easy win in the day’s feature trot.

Sunny Ruby tracked him up in the one-one for Stephen McNally but could not close on the winner in what was her first public outing this time in.

“I’m not sure she’s as good as she was before the injury,” said co-owner and trainer Sam Smolenski.

“She has a booking to Love You and all going well we’ll race her in foal for a while.”

McNally will retain the drive as long as Smith remains obligated to Great Things Happen.

Everybody Knows trotted home strongly for Ben Hope, but Bordeaux is probably not where Philip Iggo would like him to be at the moment.

Missing in action from this trial was Monbet after it had been scheduled for him.

He has had a minor setback and missed a couple of days work and Greg Hope held him back as a precaution.

“It’s nothing serious and we could have brought him, but it wasn’t worth the risk in case they went like cut cats,” said Greg Hope.

Monbet is expected to be at next week’s Rangiora trials as Hope takes his time getting him ready for Ashburton on October 22.

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