Big targets ahead for Tact McLeod

By Michael Guerin

Trevor Proctor doesn’t laugh when he hears Tact McLeod is now in the market for the New Zealand Cup.

Because while the Southland pacer may have seemed a long way from the glamour of Cup Day when winning on a wet and cold winter’s night in June on Friday, Proctor says he would love to be part of the great race.

“It would be the highlight of my career to have a horse in the Cup,” he says with reverence.

It has been some career too, with Proctor never having trained many horses but his colours always been feared and his strike rate impressive.

Right now he has two horses in work and Tact McLeod has been spending plenty of time in Canterbury, only partly for the racing opportunities.

“I have family up in Ashburton and Chrischurch and I am 73 now so I like to come up and make a nuisance of his myself,” says Prcotor.

“I think we might be doing a little bit more of that now because I will give this horse a three-week spell and then start setting him for some nice races.

“A race like the Kurow Cup may be a target and if he gets to the New Zealand Cup that would be great.”

Proctor has long thought Tact McLeod might be the best horse he has trained and his sixth, breaking 4:0 for 3200m in the Invercargill Cup was his first real indication he may have a NZ Cup-worthy pacer on his hands.

He missed away that day but his standing start manners have improved and on Friday night pilot John Morrison stepped him brilliantly and he was soon in front, which is where he stayed for the rest of the 2600m, his 55.8 and 26.4 sectionals on the wet track confirming his class.

While the long shadow of Leap To Fame extends all the way from Queensland to the New Zealand Cup market and means all odds for the Cup should be taken with a grain of salt, for those keeping tabs Tact McLeod is $51 to win it.

Another horse clearly on the up is Shards Matrix, who led throughout to win the $30,000 Hamptons ITM Winter Three-Year-old Stakes and is looking more and more a late season Derby contender for Brent and Tim White.

Paul Nairn trained a trotting double with Forgiveness and Tectonic, the latter making it three from three this campaign and he too looks like he could be part of Cup week and maybe in some good races.

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