Dual-pronged attack for Hopes

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope will have a two-pronged attack in the Haras des Trotteurs Sires’ Stakes Championship Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Friday night.

The husband-and-wife team are taking a fair bit of confidence into the race with Franco Jorik after his brave last start runner-up effort behind Outamyway in the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 1 Trot (1980m).

“His last start performance was awesome,” Nina Hope said.

“He is such a little tradesman and he surprises us every time he goes out there.

“He is definitely a horse that just does his work at home, but on raceday he turns up and gives it that little bit extra.

“He hasn’t gone a bad race.”

The son of Muscle Mass has drawn the ace barrier and Hope believes he will be a strong chance from that gate.

“He is definitely drawn to be in it,” she said.

Stablemate Eurokash will start from the outside of the front-row and his trainers are expecting an improved performance from his fourth-placing in the Harness Million a fortnight ago.

“We weren’t 100 percent happy with Eurokash’s work at home so we weren’t that confident heading into it (Harness Million) with him,” Hope said.

“Initially we were a little bit disappointed with his fourth but he did sit parked and he stuck on there.

“Although the draw isn’t ideal on Friday and it is a smart field, I think he is as good as anything in the race. I am hoping Ben (Hope, driver) can give him a nice trip

“We are expecting an improvement, but it is definitely hard from that draw.”

Earlier on the card Muscle Mountain and Matua Tana will be pressing their Gr.1 Dominion Trot (3200m) claims in the Austin’s Farrier Supplies Mobile Trot (1980m).

Muscle Mountain has won seven of his 11 starts and Hope said he will be able to utilise his gate speed from his handy draw.

“From that draw (3), he has got high speed and he likes to run, so whatever beats him will have to earn it. He is a really nice horse,” Hope said.

Muscle Mountain ran on well to finish second last start after winning his first two starts this preparation and the Hopes believe he can continue his strong form line on Friday.

“Last start Muscle Mountain went 2:15 (for 2600m) and his last half in 56 and he was three-wide from the half,” Hope said. “He is an exciting horse.”

The Ian Dobson-bred and owned gelding currently sits 20th in order of entry for the Dominion Trot, but Hope said his major target this spring will likely be on New Zealand’s biggest day of racing.

“We have kept him in the Dominion because so much can change from week-to-week,” she said. “We will take each run as it comes, but the free-for-all on Cup Day is probably his main aim.”

Meanwhile, last start winner Matua Tana sits in 13th position in order of entry for the Dominion and he will be looking to seal his spot on Friday from an unfamiliar position.

“We have taken him of the unruly for the mobile,” Hope said.

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