Ben's back and with winning chances at Addington tonight

By Michael Guerin

Ben Hope is confident he has returned home at the right time.

The 24-year-old harness horseman spent the winter in Victoria gaining experience and while he says it was valuable he also reminded him what a privileged position Canterbury harness racing holds as one of the few regions in Australasia where the code is stronger than thoroughbred racing.

Hope is now back driving for his parents Greg and Nina and already won the Kurow Cup last Sunday on Mossdale Ben, who takes his next step down a potential NZ Cup path at Addington tonight.

He contests the Maurice Holmes Vase, an win-and-you-are-in race for the NZ Cup and Hope says the rugged pacer is up to most in the 2600m standing start.

“Anything Goes is the one to beat the way he won last start but I think our fella is as good anything else in the race,” says Hope.

The stable’s other key focus tonight is the return of serious open class trotter Midnight Dash, who suffered an internal bleed last time he raced on March 31.

“He is well over that and has been working really well, even better than I expected,” says Hope.

“I think he is ready to go a big race but I will probably go back at the start from barrier 8 so he will need things to go his way.”

The stable has two runners in Race 1 in Crazy N Love and her younger brother Mr Love and Hope says the younger sibling is the clear top pick.

“He is a horse we have always liked and he has already been placed in group races.

“He trialed well recently but didn’t trot the smoothest but he worked really well here on Wednesday morning and I think he is my best chance of the night.”

Tonight’s meeting also sees the return of unbeaten juvenile Vessem as the freshman season starts to warm up again while the first Nevele R Fillies heat brings together those trying to make the most of champion filly Millwood Nike still being a month away from her return.

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