NZ HARNESS NEWS
Normally a 50-metre impost would see a trainer or driver decrying their horse’s chances at Alexandra Park.
Especially the ever-conservative Tony Herlihy.
But he heads in to Friday night’s feature trot full of confidence that his stable star, Temporale, can overcome the big handicap.
“They’ve been going that good, he and Lemond, that it’s hard to see them not fighting it out again you’d think,” he said.
The pair quinella’d their last start a fortnight ago - Lemond getting the win - when coming off 40 metres over the 2200-metre trip.
This week they have an extra 500 metres to play with and that only works in their favour.
This will be Temporale’s last public appearance before the Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Free For All at Addington on Cup Day (November 13).
“This will be his last start before then. We won’t go to the Cup trials or anything.
“He won’t miss anything though; he’ll go in to it ready.”
Temporale, now six, was fast-tracked to the top level and won the Rowe Cup as a four-year-old 18 months ago.
Herlihy couldn’t be happy with where he is at the moment.
“He’s just naturally got that little bit stronger and physically he looks better. It’s been so far, so good.”
Herlihy has a full book of ten drives on the night and, aside from Temporale, looks a right royal chance of saluting at least once, with On The Cards.
The Barry Purdon-trained pacer was competitive in the Derbies last season and was less than three lengths from the winner in the Spring Cup a month ago.
He strikes a good field this week, but a much easier one than he faced first up, and despite a wide draw opened a $1.35 favourite with bookies.
Herlihy is suitably confident.
“I drove him at the trials on Saturday and he went really well. He comes in to that race pretty well and with no bad luck he should be right there at the finish.”
Another curious drive is maiden pacer Machbrad, who will race out of his grade against winners, though ones rated below the benchmark 50 level.
The four-year-old has been desperately unlucky in strong maiden races recently and bookies opened him at $1.70.
“He’s certainly better than a maiden and I thought the 2700 wouldn’t worry him.
“He does feel like he’ll stay a bit and I’d like to think that field is within his range.”
Herlihy will head to Kaikoura on Monday to once again drive Star Galleria.
After an early bobble, the Steven Reid-trained pacer was exceptional in Monday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes, running home in close to 53 seconds for his last half-mile.
Herlihy, like a number of other drivers on the day, was disappointed with the execution of the standing start, which saw horses walk up and then delayed.
“I thought they should have gone 15 seconds before they did.
“If they’d let them go then, it would have been fine.
“But we walked up, stood for a while, then a bit longer, and Mark’s horse (Ultimate Machete) jumped forward and that upset my fella.
“We just want a fair go and I have to say our standing starts up here in Auckland are a lot better than down there.”
With a safe getaway on Monday, Herlihy can see Star Galleria going very close to winning the Kaikoura Cup in what would like be his final public hit-out before the New Zealand Cup.
- NZ Harness News