Herlihy's "weak moment" poised to reap Group 3 glory

By Michael Guerin

A moment of weakness could lead to a Group 3 win for Tony Herlihy at Addington on Thursday night.

The all-time champion driver flies south today to partner Walkinonsunshine in the $45,000 Macca’s Lodge Sires’ Stakes Classique for the three-year-old trotting fillies, not the sort of return trip you would usually expect Herlihy to be making for an outside drive.

He drove Walkinonsunshine at Alexandra Park when she won the Great Northern Trotting Oaks and then when she finished second in the Northern Trotting Derby in the autumn but it wasn’t just a case of liking what he felt then so keeping the drive.

“She is owned by a great guy in Reg Storer and after I drove her at The Park he asked me one day if I’d come down to drive her at Addington last start,” said Herlihy.

“He must have got me at a weak moment because I said yes,” he says with the trademark Herlihy laugh.

That was last start when Walkonsunshine waltzed away from many of her rivals tonight, albeit aided by Sunny’s Sister having a gallop when in front of her.

Those manners issues were remedied by the addition of half hopples when Sunny’s Sister won last Friday and the two exciting fillies dominate the market tonight.

“Even though Sunny’s Sister galloped last start this filly won well,” says Herlihy.

“She is quite mature and has great gate speed so I think she will be hard to beat again.

“I think she will actually be better for the run last time out.”

While a lot could change with the trotting fillies in coming months Walkinonsunshine’s manners, gate speed and long stride make her the one to beat on those three factors alone in many of her upcoming races.

While the Classique is the richest race on the Addington programme there are some other beauties to keep punters interested.

There are some high quality three-year-olds in race 2 taking on the older horses as the better three-year-old races like the NZ Derby start to come more sharply into focus.

And race 7 is an intermediate handicap that could still have New Zealand Cup repercussions as several open class regulars, like Smiffy’s Terror and Laver, have to give away 10m starts to the likes of Here’s Herbie and Bach.

The 2600m standing start also sees the return of the talented John Hay-trained Wheels Of Fortune so looks set to be an interesting form guide, especially for those who stick around in the intermediate grade rather than try their hands further up in the grades of races like the Methven Cup.

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