Cranbourne off canvas for Green Mile

By Michael Guerin

The bleeding noses of Cup week may soon have taught Cranbourne how to land the knockout punch.

But trainer Brent White says tactics and tempo could determine whether that big moment comes in Sunday’s Methven 4 Square Supermarket Green Mile.

Cranbourne arrives in the grass dash after an early gallop in the IRT New Zealand Cup but then a booming fourth in the NZ Free-For-All in which Addington’s stridemaster info suggested he actually broke 1:50 for his final mile once that time was calibrated for had he been against the marker pegs.

That gives White confidence that Cranbourne has the motor to be an open class force heading forward but the experience, good and bad, is all helping.

“Somebody once said he needs a few bleeding noses in open class to get used to it and I think we are seeing the benefits of that hard racing now,” White told HRNZ.

“He had 4 or 5 days off after Cup week because he was pretty tired after the free-for-all but once he came back in it seemed it actually helped him.

“I think he is getting better all the time and we know he has grass track form so this look a good race for but the barrier draws worry me a bit.

That is because Cranbourne has drawn outside natural speedsters It’s All About Faith and Alta Wiseguy, suggesting driver Stephen McNally will need to be conservative early before making a decision.

“I can’t see us beating them off the gate so after that at some stage either our horse or one of the Dunn pair (Classie Brigade or Henry Hubert) will have to go forward and put some pressure on.

“But I don’t want to see him rushing up sitting parked in his races so I’d love to get a good trail into it.”

After Sunday, Cranbourne will head to his hometown Ashburton Cup and two of the cups in the deep south over the summer before White makes a decision of whether to try an Alexandra Park campaign.

For all the open class horses in Sunday’s big mile the race has often been dominated by speedsters so on a firm surface it wouldn’t surprise to see the less proven pair of It’s All About Faith and Alta Wiseguy prove hard to catch.

White also has One Apollo in Sunday’s $25,000 Trotters Green Mile and says the frustrating trotter is close to a win.

“He should have won last week but went out in sympathy when a horse near him galloped,” explains White.

“He is close to a good performance and while I don’t think he can beat Oscar Bonavena on Sunday I think we can run second.”

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