Aussie trip off for Muscle Mountain

By Michael Guerin

Star trotter Muscle Mountain will be staying put at least for now.

The giant multiple Group 1 winner is back in work after a setback ruled him out of the NZ Trotting Free-For-All on Grand Prix Day at Addington but driver Ben Hope says the intended Australian trip for the Great Southern Star is off.

“We wanted to go to Victoria but being out of a work for a while he won’t be ready,” says Hope.

“So he will stay here and race in a couple of the major races here then head north.”

Top target when Muscle Mountain gets there will be the TAB Trot at Cambridge on April 12, which his connections hold a slot for so he is guaranteed a start.

“It is pretty exciting and knowing he is in the race helps us plan backward from there.”

Hope says the last part of Muscle Mountain’s year was disappointing after he was the best trotter in the country for much of 2023.

“He missed out in some of those biggest races, like the Rowe Cup and the Dominion and obviously the last one wasn’t his fault (atrial fibrillation).

“We realise that opens the door for Oscar Bonavena in the Trotter of the Year title.

“So we want to get him back to his best and nail some of those big races this season."

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