Ben's dream becomes reality
By Jonny Turner
Ben Hope made his New Zealand Cup dream a reality when Mossdale Ben swooped home to win the Group Three Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington on Friday night.
Just five days after taking out the Kurow Cup, the four-year-old claimed the first New Zealand Cup qualifier of the season in his toughest open class test.
Like so many young horsepeople, Hope has dreamed of being able to compete in New Zealand’s greatest race.
The reinsman won’t have to dream about it anymore with Mossdale Ben gaining automatic entry into the November feature with his breakout victory.
So instead, Hope will be able to dream about winning the great race.
“To have a drive in the Cup is obviously the pinnacle for any Canterbury boy or anyone in harness racing, really,” Hope said.
“If everything continues to go well, we have a confirmed starter which is awesome.”
“He is a horse we have always had a lot of time for.”
“He had a wee break over winter and he has really come back super.”
Mossdale Ben will give Cromwell breeder-owners Archie and Margaret Affleck another shot at winning the New Zealand Cup with their breed – developed at their farm in Northern Southland.
Mossdale Conner ran third in the 2015 edition of the race, won by Arden Rooney who was born just a matter of minutes away in West Otago.
“It is very well deserved for Archie and Margaret, they put a lot into the game,” Hope said.
“They were buzzing after the race, I was really rapt for them.”
Mossdale Ben wasn’t the only horse to create a New Zealand talking point with his performance in the Maurice Holmes Vase.
The four-year-old’s victory was aided by Allamericanlover and the Anything Goes cutting out fast sectionals on the pace as far as 1200m from home.
Much of the speed came courtesy of a fired up Allamericanlover racing keenly outside the favourite.
Allamericanlover produced one of the runs of the race when fighting on for fourth after working very hard.
Anything Goes fought on strongly after being taken on by the second favourite, finishing third.
American Me also gave his New Zealand Cup hopes a boost when dashing through along the inner to run second, only collared by the fast-finishing Mossdale Ben.
Smiffys Terror Corravally Star and Got You Covered warmed up late in meritorious runs.
Ben Hope wasn’t the only young gun to shine on a big night of racing at Addington.
Trainer Michael Purdon produced Mystic Max for his second consecutive win at Addington when he took out the Basil Dean trot.
The four-year-old looks right on track to earn himself a start in the Dominion.