Brilliant trotter bolts in
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
All the word was on Muscle Mountain prior to the Group One Garrard’s Horse & Hound 4YO Ruby (1609m) at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday, but it was Bolt For Brilliance who stamped his mark as the dominant trotter of his crop.
The ledger was one win a piece heading into the weekend, with Bolt For Brilliance winning the Group Three Trotters Classic (2600m) at Addington Raceway in March, with Muscle Mountain coming out a fortnight later on the Christchurch track to take out the Group One NZ Trotting Championship (2600m).
The pair subsequently won their lead-up races heading into Sunday, but it was Muscle Mountain who had attracted the favour of punters, who installed him into $1.55 favouritism, with Jewels leader Bolt For Brilliance the second fancy at $3.80.
Junior reinsman Ben Hope found an early one-one position with Muscle Mountain before trainer-driver Tony Herlihy looped the field with Bolt For Brilliance on the back of One Majic Kenny to sit parked outside leader American Pride.
Hope duly pulled his charge three-wide to go eye-to-eye with his adversary down the back straight, with the pair finding the lead at the 600m mark, setting up a thrilling finish to the trotting feature.
However, Bolt For Brilliance kicked clear down the straight to win by 3-3/4 lengths over Muscle Mountain, with a further three-quarters of a length back to American Pride in third.
Herlihy was pleased with the win and said a vital stage of the race was getting in front of Muscle Mountain at the bell.
“Ben (Hope) had settled in there (one-one) and I managed to follow up behind John Dunn’s horse (One Majic Kenny) and crossed over, it worked out really well for us in the end,” Herlihy said.
Bolt For Brilliance remains undefeated at the Jewels, having won the 2YO Ruby at Addington Raceway two years ago, and was robbed of a chance at a three-year-old crown last year as a result of racing’s COVID-19 enforced hiatus.
Bred by Standardbred Breeders Association Executive Manager Brad Reid, Herlihy purchased Bolt For Brilliance out of the yearling sales for $30,000, and he is pleased he has retained a share in the talented trotter.
“He is pretty special, he has been for quite a wee while, and he has just got better and stronger,” Herlihy said.
“He is such a lovely horse to do anything with, he has got great manners, he is a real professional.”