Homebush Lad out to go one better
by Jonny Turner
Homebush Lad will be out to go one better than last year in the Westport Cup on Boxing Day.
The Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer was only narrowly denied by Last Of The Mohicans in a slogging finish when a wet track turned last year’s grass track feature into a dour staying test.
Metservice forecasts suggests Homebush Lad will be able to strut his stuff on top of the grass this year.
The pacer goes from taking on much fuller line ups in recent Country Cups to taking on just six other rivals on Boxing Day, from a 20m handicap.
Though that seems a plus for Homebush Lad, it also has its drawbacks.
“He was lucky enough to run second last year and run a great race,” driver Ben Hope said.
“He should be a good chance again, but he is probably dictated to with how the race is run.”
“With the small field, it could be a walk and sprint affair.”
“That wouldn’t help us, being off the back mark.”
“If there is a genuine tempo that would suit him a lot more.”
The Hope stable start two runners in race 8 – Westport’s feature trot.
Eurokash is rated ahead of Summer Lovin in betting markets, though Ben Hope has warned Summer Lovin shouldn’t be under-rated.
“You have got to respect horses like Muscle Bank and Prince Teka and even Summer Lovin.”
“If he gets the right run, he can go a nice race.”
“But I think on exposed form and if he does everything right then Eurokash is the one they have to beat.”
Veteran grass tracker Krystal Delight also represents the Hope camp at Westport.
Ben Hope rates the mare a top 4 threat.
“She is going well but it is a field with a little bit of form in it.”
“The draw (7) is a little bit tricky, so I think if she runs in the top 4 it would be a decent result.”
Hope also takes outside drives in Gosakhi and Manzini at Westport.