Harness Briefs - 24 October
By Garrick Knight
Gran Chico under offer
One of the country’s more promising pacers is under offer to Perth interests.
Four-year-old Gran Chico, due to race in Monday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes, is being vetted Thursday with a view to join Mike Reed’s Perth stable.
Part-owner Grant Eynon, from Tauranga, confirmed a deal was in place but had not yet been finalised.
The deal is for a significant six-figure sum that reflected the reluctance of Eynon and his father, Colin, to sell their prized horse.
Prepared to this point by Nigel McGrath, Gran Chico has won six of his 13 lifetime starts as well as placing runner-up to Jesse Duke in last season’s Group 1 3yo Emerald at Addington.
After a fourth in the Methven Cup at his most recent outing interest ramped up in the son of Bettor’s Delight, according to Eynon.
Reed’s clients would be unlikely to pursue a New Zealand Cup start and would instead ship him to Perth immediately with a view to two Group 1 races for four-year-olds there in December.
Palmy raids on again for House
The first two-day Manawatu meeting of the season is down to go next week and trainer Michael House will once again be under-pinning the fields.
The now dual-island trainer has made Palmerston North a happy hunting ground over the two seasons, winning 107 races there.
“I’ve just nominated 18 horses for the first meeting,” he told HRNZ.
“Six will come down from the Auckland barn and I’ll send a dozen up from here in Christchurch.”
The country’s leading reinsman, Blair Orange, will again link up with House as he uses Manawatu as a key aspect of his push for a third straight drivers’ premiership.
“There was an Air New Zealand sale recently with $50 fares to Palmerston North and Blair said he bought tickets for the whole season.
“So, I guess that means he’ll be driving them again,” House said.
After a big dispersal and clean out at the end of last season, House has been building up his stables for the regular raids over the past couple of months.
“It’s been harder than last year; there are less horses around and people are finding it easier to win in their own district.
“But over the next couple of months I am expecting a huge influx as we get rolling.”