Homebush Lad speeds to Geraldine Cup win

By Jonny Turner

Homebush Lad started what could be an epic summer when he zoomed up the inner to win the Geraldine Cup at Orari on Saturday.

The Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer didn’t exactly make a flying beginning, but it worked in his favour when he slotted into a sweet spot three-back on the markers.

Saturday saw the last scheduled running of the Geraldine Cup at Orari and Ben Hope was thrilled for his name to go into the history books.

“It is nice to win a nice race at a meeting I look forward to each year,” Hope said.

“The Geraldine club do a great job and there are always plenty of people on course enjoying themselves, so it is great to get a win there.”

It is hoped Saturday’s win is the starting point for a huge summer of Country Cups racing for Homebush Lad.

No mug on all weather, the pacer clearly thrives on turf tracks.

Homebush Lad has only had one other start on grass this spring, running a very unlucky sixth in the Methven Cup.

“We will be focusing on the Country Cups through the summer,” Hope said.

“He is a horse that has been unlucky through bad luck or a few different circumstances.”

“So he deserved to win a nice race like this.”

“He got a great trip and when I asked him, he tried really hard to line.”

Homebush Lad is bred and raced by Adeline Smith with the estate of her late husband William.

Ben Hope had an important assignment before he even got to Orari on Saturday.

The Hope stable gave Muscle Mountain an important hit-out on Saturday morning, ahead of next weekend’s Group One New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All.

The trotter has recovered well from his mighty effort to run second to Sundees Son in the Dominion earlier this month and is on song for another big performance at Group One level.

“He worked super this morning and we couldn’t be happier with him leading into next weekend.”

Ben Hope heads to Addington on Sunday hoping Latrell can win his way into New Zealand Trotting Derby contention.

The horse will have his second start after a brilliant debut win at Ashburton.

A win would give Hope the confidence to aim Latrell at next weekend’s Group 1 Derby.

“He was working really well and I took him to the Cup Trials and he beat Sunny Louis and Boss Kenny who both won at Cup Week.”

“Even though I was really happy with him, his blood wasn’t 100% so he had to miss it.”

“It seems much better now and he should be hard to beat.”

Latrell steps out in race 7 on Sunday.

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