Hill to create 16 year first at Rangiora
By Jonny Turner
Van Shard faces his biggest test soon after trainer Brendon Hill completes the rarest of accomplishments at Rangiora on Sunday.
Van Shard will be out to back up his impressive first up win when he takes on a quality field in the Rangiora 3YO Stakes.
Before then, Hill will line up his first trotting starter in a whopping 16 years.
The trainer has had just nine trotting starters in 21 years as a trainer with Martytecola his sole winner back in 2005.
Hill admitted his recollection of the Chiola Cola gelding’s sole career win is a little vague.
“Far out, that is a long time ago, I don’t even remember to be honest.”
Fast forward to 2022 and the trainer will line up Pheobe K in race 2 on Sunday.
The four-year-old is a work in progress who will benefit from racing.
“Her first couple of races she is probably going to do things wrong.”
“But she has to learn to race, she can trot a bit, but she has got to learn to be a racehorse now.”
Hill also starts Van Shard in Sunday’s Rangiora 3YO Stakes.
The pacer steps up in grade after a highly impressive first up maiden win in Addington.
“The owners have been patient with him, it worked out really good first up.”
“He actually does have a lot to learn, he just gets a bit keen sometimes.”
“He was good the other night because he got things his own way.”
“He will probably naturally want to roll forward on Sunday, if he gets to the front it will be interesting.”
“Hopefully down the track he can settle and learn to become a really nice racehorse.”
Though he still has to learn some of the finer points of racing Hill clearly has a horse with a motor in Van Shard.
“He ran home in 56.7sec (800m) the other night and the plugs were still in and it was quite nice.”
Hill also starts Sargent Best in race 4 on Sunday.
The pacer ran seventh in his last start at Addington in what looks a stronger field than he meets on Sunday.
Drawing barrier 1 should give Sargent Best his shot at clearing maidens.
“We tried the sliding blinds on him at Addington and they didn’t work.”
“I wouldn’t mind seeing him find the front and bowling along, he works good in front at home.”
“That would be nice but he has got to get out of the gate pretty strongly.”
“He still ran his last mile in 1.58 last start, so that is going to take him pretty close on Sunday.”
Ricky May will drive all three of Hill’s starters at Rangiora.