Hope kicking goals in 2022

By Jonny Turner

Ben Hope continued the outstanding start he’s made to the new harness racing season with a winning double at Oamaru yesterday.

Hope showed off all of his skills, producing Refine to win in her first run in his colours before driving Mossdale Ben to victory for his parents, Greg and Nina.

Refine impressed when sitting parked for much of race 4 before proving too tough for her rivals in race 4.

“I was rapt with her, I was pretty happy with her work leading into the race,” Hope said.

“But I thought the favourite would be pretty hard to beat.”

“It probably worked in our favour that they went really hard early, we were out of that early burn when they were working hard.”

“In saying that she won really well, so I was rapt.”

Hope recently took over the training of the mare from John McDermott who races Refine with wife Christine.

Hope made it a double when helping Mossdale Ben overcome a tricky draw in race 6.

Starting from the outside of the front line, the three-year-old effectively gave his rivals a head start but it proved no hindrance as he went on to reel off smart sectionals to score.

“It was a good effort, he had a bad draw and it was never going to be easy from there.”

“He is still a little bit green, he has only ten starts so he is still a baby in the scheme of things, so it was a good run.”

Mossdale Ben has now won three times in the new year from just four starts for breeder-owners Archie and Margaret Affleck.

Yesterday’s double took Hope to 12 wins for 2022 giving him a very early lead in the National Junior Drivers’ Premiership.

That tally should be 13 but the reinsman missed driving Muscle Mountain last week through suspension.

“I will be gluing myself to the seat, I am looking forward to getting back on him.”

“We are unsure where his next race will be, there are some nice targets in April but we will trying to get a race into him before then to keep him ticking over.”

Muscle Mountain's arch rivals Sundees Son and Bolt For Brilliance will clash in the Lyell Creek Stakes on Saturday night.

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