Close out to continue form at Motukarara
By Jonny Turner
Canterbury reinsman Robbie Close will be out to keep his winning form going at Motukarara on Sunday after notching a winning treble at Addington on Friday night.
Close has seven drives at the Akaroa Trotting Club meeting that could add to his tally of 17 in the sulky, so far this season.
The driver has racked up those victories at a strong strike rate and if he continues his form he will be on track for one of his best seasons of driving.
“I’m pretty happy with the way things are going, I have got a good boss to work for in Regan Todd,” Close said.
“He puts a lot of trust in the way I drive, so I can’t complain.”
Close notched wins 15, 16 and 17 for the season when scoring with Unico Veloce, Sam’s Town and Cheezel at Addington.
Todd has had Cheezel in fine form since the mare joined his barn this season.
The 5yr-old has not missed a top three placing for her new trainer and Close ensured she would get a cheque again when giving her a perfect run in the trail.
“She had copped a little bit of luck in her last two starts, running on in quick last halfs [800m].” “But, sitting in the trail she did herself pretty well.”
Close won out when a battle of tactics played out in Friday night’s Show Day Futurity Consolation.
The race saw plenty of lead changes and mid race moves, which the driver largely kept Sam’s Town out of.
Close elected to save ground on the home turn, which may have caused the horse’s backers a few nervous moments, before the Gavin Burgess trained pacer cleared out to win.
“He is not a bad horse – as long as he gets the run to suit – then he is quite a nice horse.”
“It was a bit of a cat and mouse affair, but with the way things worked out it suited him really well.”
Close also found himself in a tight spot in the home turn behind Unico Veloce.
Once the reinsman worked the Mark Fuller trained 3yr-old in to the clear in the straight he let down with a sharp finish to reel in the leader, Prospect Park.
“Mark said he got lost a bit lost in front last time at Geraldine, so he said to drive him with one run if you can,” Close said.
“He got a bit lost again on the last bend when a few of them got a bit tired, but he showed a really good turn of foot to win.”
Close’s best drives appear to be saved until last at Motukarara on Sunday.
He combines with impressive first up winner Elo Louise in the last of 11 races.
The 3yr-old produced a powerful finish to win on the track earlier this month and will attempt to do it again against a tougher field when starting from barrier 14 on Sunday.
“She has just got a bad draw, she is not a bad wee filly, but that is going to make it harder.”
“It’s a step up in grade, but with one run she can finish over top of them.” Close also drives consistent trotter Cabella Noir in race 10.
The 6yr-old will be out to go one better than her last start second to BK Dawn at Methven, earlier this month.
“She is a horse that if she hits the front too early she knocks off, she has only got a short wee sprint.”
“If she gets the right run with a sit, she won’t be far away.”
Close will also drive Goodthingstaketime in race 3 following his good last start third at Oamaru.
“He has drawn handy and been racing well without much luck.”
Close also drives Black Jacket in race 2, Smooth Debate in race 5, Nui Ba Den in race 8 and Doitson in race 9.