Epic clash of two-year-old trotters

By Jonny Turner

Quality age-group racing is set to return in emphatic style at Addington on Friday night with an epic clash of two-year-old trotters.

A seven-horse field of squaregaiters will reignite New Zealand’s two-year-old racing after harness racing’s lockdown hiatus when they do battle over 1980m.

The scintillating clash will give trainers Greg and Nina Hope the chance continue their brilliant late season form when they start Eurokash, Summer Lovin and Franco Jorik.

Stable junior driver Ben Hope will attempt to keep his own hot form going when he drives Eurokash.

Though he would not want to switch and drive any other horse in the race, he admits there is little between the trio his parents trains.

“I am really happy with Eurokash, but it would be unfair to say he is better than Summer Lovin and Franco Jorik,” Hope said.

“They are three lovely horses.”

All three of the Hope’s runners come in to race 6 after impressing in last start wins at Addington.

Eurokash took his unbeaten run on the trials track to race day when putting more than five and a half lengths on a maiden field late last month.

The two-year-old fitness has been kept up to the mark by the Hope stable since and he is ready to show his best on Friday night.

“He had that race a few weeks ago and his work has been really good since, so he is ready.”

Franco Jorik comes in to race 6 with a similar gap between runs after beating subsequent winner, Mighty Flying Rocker, a day after Eurokash’s victory.

“Franco Jorik is the most natural two-year-old of our three,” Hope said.

“He always looked like he was going to run early and he is a nice horse.”

Summer Lovin brings the most recent form of the Hope trio.

He turned heads with huge, but far from perfect performance when galloping across the line more than ten lengths in front of his rivals at Addington last week.

While he has clearly got a motor to match his stablemates, he may not quite be able to match them on manners.

“Summer Lovin has got a lot of ability, he has got a good staying motor and he certainly showed that last week,” Hope said.

“But he is not a natural two-year-old, I remember as a yearling we thought he would be a three-year-old before he raced.”

“Eurokash and Franco Jorik would be pretty much the same on manners.”

“They don’t generally put a foot wrong in work, but they are two-year-olds and it is much different at the races.”

Winter star Matua Tana will attempt to make it four wins in a row in race 8, Friday night’s feature trot.

The trotter sealed a hat-trick of wins by reeling off a sensational 27.6sec last 400m to seal a winning hat-trick at Addington last weekend.

“Initially we were not going to back him up, but when we saw it was a small field and pretty much the same field he beat last week we thought we would line up,” Hope said.

“His work has been good and there is no reason he shouldn’t go another good race again.”

Midnight Dash ran second behind Matua Tana last week, which holds him in excellent stead ahead of race 8.

“I thought he was really good last week running on that fast quarter,” Hope said.

“Without being disrespectful to the opposition, because there are some nice ones in there like Chloe Rose and Carnegie Hall, this looks a drop in class for him and he should be hard to beat.”

The Hope stable also line up Mossdale Art, who has not had much racing luck in three post-lockdown runs, in race 10.

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