By Michael Guerin
Marcoola’s comeback has be delayed as Clint Ford just couldn’t ask his old mate to start off a massive handicap at Addington this week.
So the Dominion winner will now go into the NZ Trotting Champs against Speeding Spur and Monbet without a race in two months.
Marcoola’s season has been a real game of two halves situation: before Christmas he was nearly unbeatable, since then nothing has gone right.
He was beaten by Massive Metro as a red hot favourite in the National Trot on New Years Eve then performed lengths below his best in the Great Southern Star at Melton in January, later found to have dust in his lungs.
Now back in his beloved Canterbury, owner-driver Ford says he is putting the failed Victorian experience behind him.
“I loved the trip and being part of it over there but nothing went our way for the race,” says Ford.
“Both him and Amaretto Sun were fine when they first got to Victoria but after a few days the weather changed and it got very, very hot into the 40s.
They stopped eating and drinking as much and raced liked it and afterwards we had them scoped and found a lot of dust in their lungs.
“I suppose the conditions are something the local horses get used to but our didn’t and taking advice from people I think if we went over there again we would either go just the day before or like three weeks before to give them time to adjust.
“Obviously what we did didn’t work.”
Ford is happy with how Marcoola’s new prep is going but wasn’t as thrilled with the 55m handicap he received at Addington on Friday night and scratched him.
“I am not sure it is the right thing to do racing him off 55m fresh up so I scratched him,” said Ford.
“With a horse like him he would have to be put in the race and I think a trial might be a better way to get him ready for the Trotting Championships.”
Before his summer derailed post-Christmas, Morcoola would have been unbackable to win Trotter of the Year, especially after one of the more brutal Dominion wins in recent times in November.
He will still almost certainly win the title Ford would like to win one of the three group ones remaining to the six-year-old to cement the title and end the season on a high.
“We have the Trotting Champs, the Anzac Cup and the Rowe Cup and that will probably do us so I’d like to get at least one of those.”
While Marcoola may not make it to Addington on Friday night there is great depth at the meeting and Northern Derby winner Ultimate Sniper looks set to continue on his winning after drawing perfectly in the Flying Stakes, the lead-up to New Zealand Derby on April 5.