Hanrahan duo ready to rock at Westport
Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Lightly raced four-year-old Rocknroll Max will be looking to snare his first cup success when he contests the Ngaire Townrow Kawatiri Cup (2600m) at Westport on Friday.
It will be the second cup tilt for the Laurence Hanrahan-trained gelding after he finished runner-up to Shadow Minister last start in the Waikouaiti Cup (3000m).
“The horse in front of us, Queen Bee Bardon, stopped a little bit which possibly could have cost us the win,” Hanrahan said.
Rocknroll Max has recorded two wins and three placings in his five starts this preparation and Hanrahan is hoping he can add another victory to his tally on Friday.
“He has been in very good form,” Hanrahan said. “He has been lucky enough to have some pretty good runs, but he makes his own luck by beginning so well.”
Rocknroll Max had just the two starts as a three-year-old last season and Hanrahan said he has matured a lot, both mentally and physically, since then.
“Last year he was doing all sorts of things wrong and the three or four months he had out during the winter did him well, he came back a different horse this time in.”
The son of A Rocknroll Dance has drawn four on the front line and driver Jim Curtin will be looking to take advantage of his impeccable standing start manners.
Hanrahan is looking forward to Friday and believes his gelding will be very competitive in the feature race on the card.
“I believe he has got a show,” he said. “But there are some other nice horses in there. Rocknroll Rod and Norman Richards are both nice horses and you have got to respect Pay Me Visa, he is the winner of 12 races and he is only off 10m.”
Hanrahan will also line-up last start winner Ultimate Rocker in the Buller Refrigeration & Electrical Pace (2000m).
The four-year-old gelding posted his second career victory when winning over 2000m at Waikouaiti last week and Hanrahan was relieved to get the result after two previous unplaced runs in junior driver events.
“It took three goes for Sarah (O’Reilly, junior driver) and I tried to get it right, but we finally got there,” Hanrahan quipped. “That was really good to get a penalty free race with him.”
Ultimate Rocker has drawn three on the frontline and Hanrahan is confident he will begin well from that mark for driver Jim Curtin.
“He is in a stand this time,” Hanrahan said. “He is a good beginner, but not as good as what Rocknroll Max is.
“He is better off saved for one run, working into the race late, and that is how he will be driven.”