Herlihy not returning just yet
By Michael Guerin
New Zealand’s most successful ever horseman is finally over one of the worst injuries of his career.
But don’t expect to see champion driver Tony Herlihy back at Alexandra Park tomorrow night or any time in the next month.
Herlihy resumed driving fast work at his South Auckland training established this week, over five weeks after a race smash at Alexandra Park left him with ribs broken in a particularly nasty place.
That ruled Herlihy — who has won more races than any other New Zealand-based driver or jockey —out of the Harness Jewels and a spectator at his own stables for much of the first month.
“It took a while to get over, longer than last time I had a similar injury, but it is good to be back driving fast work,” he said.
“But I am not going to rush back into race driving. I am going on holiday in a few weeks and I rather give the injured ribs that extra time to recover.
“So I probably won’t be back driving on racenight for another three or even four weeks.”
That will see his stable’s young reinsmen Tony Cameron and junior Luke Whittaker do the majority of his driving at what is admittedly a quieter time of the season.
But Herlihy still has some major winter goals with juvenile trotter Tickle Me Pink, who is being set for an Australian campaign.
The previously unbeaten filly broke for no apparent reason at the start of her Jewels final but is heading to Victoria in early August.
“We are still keen to take her to the Breeders Crown, especially as there is a separate juvenile filly trotting section which she is eligible for.
“So she might also go to the Redwood at Maryborough before that and could even contest her Breeders Crown heat over there in Victoria depending on how the timing works out.”
Herlihy’s stable star Temporale has also rejoined the stable after a huge season which saw him win the National Trot and finish second in two of Australia’s biggest races.
That form plateaued toward the end of the season but Temporale raced like a horse still growing into his big frame and could be even better next season.
“He looks like he has put a bit of muscle on and all going well we will give him a shot at Cup week in Christchurch this time in.”