Chmiels keeping Franco Tai guessing


Variety is the spice of life and that’s the exact approach Terry and Glenys Chmiel are taking with handy pacer Franco Tai.

After his impressive fresh up win at Timaru on Sunday, where he blasted past his rivals with a devastating turn of foot, it could have been easy for the Leeston training partnership to get all excited and really push forward with the five-year-old.

But, past experiences have taught the pair that when it comes to the son of Lis Mara, taking a step back is often the best way to go.

“It’s about keeping him interested, I think,” Glenys Chmiel said.

“He goes really good fresh, but then after two or three starts he seems to lose a bit of interest.

“So, our job at the moment is to try and spice things up for him a bit to keep him interested and that mainly means spacing his races out a bit.”

Sunday’s win was Franco Tai’s seventh in 45 starts for his owners, Robert and Sharon Symon.

After settling mid-pack, Terry, who handled the driving duties, played the patient game and never moved until the 400-metre mark, when the gelding showed his true speed and blasted past his rivals at the top of the straight to put the race beyond doubt.

“He was pretty impressive,” Glenys said.

“That speed of his is a real key and if we can keep getting him to produce that he could win a few more races, too.”

Initially the plan was to head to the races again this week, but a decision has been made to space things out a bit more and so it could be two weeks before he’s back at the races again.

“We just need to find what works for him.”

The victory at Phar Lap Raceway took the Chmiel partnership to 23 wins for the season - one of their best in recent years - and they now sit just 11 wins shy of bringing up 200 wins as a partnership after beginning back in 2009.

Two races earlier, Dexter Dunn brought up 200 wins for the season with a winning effort behind Ohoka Johnny, trained by his cousin, Tom Bagrie.

It is the fifth-straight season Dunn has recorded a double ton in the cart and seventh overall.

With 11 meetings left in the season, he is 19 wins behind premiership leader Blair Orange (219).

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