Case of déjà vu for Hanrahan at Timaru

NZ HARNESS NEWS

There was a distinct case of déjà vu when Ultimate Rocker downed his more favoured stablemate Strong Enough in the Remembering ‘Boomer Bailey’ maiden pace at Washdyke on Saturday.

The only previous occasion that trainer Laurence Hanrahan has posted the quinella in a race was three years ago at Washdyke when Stephen McNally won with Pocket Of Jewels over the favourite Cullen Keefe and Ricky May.

May opted to drive Strong Enough on this occasion and he was the odds on favourite after winning his two trials last month, with Ultimate Rocker chasing him home on both occasions.

But, when the three-year-old geldings both made their debuts at the Timaru meeting, it was Ultimate Rocker and McNally who prevailed off a slightly better trip.

“There’s not much between them to be fair, although Strong Enough can do a bit more work,” Hanrahan said.

“He had to do that after being left parked but Ultimate Rocker was also a lot closer to him on the turn today compared to their trials.”

The result should have come as no great surprise as Ultimate Rocker and Strong Enough have been literally matching strides for the last two years.

Hanrahan secured them both from the Premier Sale and has brought them along in tandem since.

Strong Enough first appeared at the workouts in late October and Ultimate Rocker followed a month later.

They had their first qualifying trial together on a wet day at Rangiora on December 19 and then got their tickets four days later when finishing 1-2 in a heat at Ashburton.

“Ultimate Rocker just turned the tables on their trials form after Stephen was able to give him the better trip.”

Being able to drop into the trail and take the passing lane after the leader, Darryl Kerrigan, galloped at the 600m and disorganised the field probably made the difference to the result.

The pacers wound up in the same race at Washdyke as it was the only stand for maiden pacers and Hanrahan likes to get them educated to go away before resorting to mobiles when he has to.

Ultimate Rocker was purchased for $22,000 at the sales by Don and Margaret Ingold and their son Craig although Don passed away in July last year.

He is by A Rocknroll Dance and is the 12th and last foal from TK Swift, the Holmes Hanover dam of big winners Time Flies and Noble Strike along with good performers in Ultimate Pursuit, Ultimate CC and Pomme Roy.

“Don and Margaret were with me on the first day of the sales, but we couldn’t get one we liked, so they left it to me on the second day.

“I sorted out one by A Rocknroll Dance as I had one by him at home which went good.

“Plus they only had so much money to spend and yearlings by new sires tend to be a bit cheaper.”

Strong Enough is by Well Said from the Christian Cullen mare Cher Magic and Hanrahan bought him later in the day in Christchurch for $16,000 for Canadians Sam and Nancy Taylor.

“They’d asked me to buy a Well Said and there weren’t a lot of colts to choose from in their price range to be honest.

“Sam and Nancy have been coming here for 6-7 weeks for the summer weather for over 20 years and are due again in 10 days, so they’ll be looking forward to watching Strong Enough race while they’re here.”

Both Strong Enough and Ultimate Rocker are likely to head back to Washdyke for the meeting on Wednesday week.

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