Hope out to continue winning form
By Jonny Turner
Ben Hope will be out to continue keep up his winning form after driving Muscle Mountain to one of the most powerful trotting wins of the season at Addington on Friday night.
Muscle Mountain turned heads with a victory that almost had to be seen to be believed, beating a classy field in the Group Three Summer Trotters Cup when first up without a trial or workout and having to sit parked for much of the race.
Without having made a recent public appearance, the four-year-old could have been excused for being a little flat when he returned to his stall at Addington.
But Muscle Mountain thrilled the Greg and Nina Hope stable with the way he pulled up after his mammoth effort.
“He has come through it very good, half an hour after the race you wouldn’t have thought he had been out there,” Ben Hope said.
“I have been lucky enough to win a group race with him as a two-year-old, but to win one with him in the open class trotting ranks is pretty cool.”
Hope looks a big chance of keeping his winning form up with Hittheroadjack in race 7 at Methven on Sunday.
The four-year-old steps up in grade and his driver thinks he can handle it.
“I give him a big chance, it is not the greatest draw (12), but in saying that he came from the same part of the track last time.”
“With it being a junior race they could go hard, so he should be a good chance.”
“He will need a few things to go his way but if it is run like most junior races usually are he is a good eachway chance.”
Seapris has also copped a slightly tricky draw in barrier 12 in race 3.
Though she appeared to have her chance when second to Didjaseemyshadow in her last start at Addington, Hope said that may not be the case.
“I would have been reasonably confident from a good draw.”
“But she is a good beginner and if she can get a good run through she has got to be a good chance.”
“She was a little bit unlucky last time.”
“It might not look that way on the replay but the one in front of us was tiring and it halted her momentum just slightly.”
“Being there was just a small margin in it, it probably really cost her.”
The Hope stable also start Homebush Lad in the Hororata Cup.
The 10m marker comes into the 3000m feature after running on strongly behind race rival Gilligan’s Island in the Amberley Cup last weekend.
“Even though he hasn’t won one on the track he hasn’t gone too bad there.”
“He ran fifth in the Methven Cup over the same distance.”
“He is going to be a chance, he is going to need a few things to go his way but he is not the worst.”
Hope also drives Heaven On High, who looks a place chance when he lines up against his stablemate Cristiano Buccini in race 2.
Rockntommy Rulz also looks a place chance for Hope in race 9.