Hope racking up the training wins
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Ben Hope has only been training since the start of the year but he is quickly racking up the wins.
He chalked his third training victory at just his fifth start at Addington Raceway on Friday when Refine took out the XCM Sport Team Teal Drivers Challenge Mare Mobile Pace (1980m).
Off a hot speed driver Natalie Rasmussen sent her charge forward at the bell to take control of the race.
They continued to keep an honest pace upfront and pinched a lead on their rivals turning for home where Refine was able to run away to a 3-1/2 length victory over Manhattan, with a further head back to Arden’s Delight in third.
Hope was over the moon with the result.
“I am really rapt,” he said. “I watched it from Invercargill and it was one of the coolest moments of my career.
“Seeing a driver of Natalie Rasmussen’s calibre driving your horse was pretty cool.”
Refine took a last start fourth placing into the race and Hope was confident she could upstage a couple of her more fancied rivals.
“I was reasonably confident, but I couldn’t label her as it was a nice field,” he said.
“I just thought a couple of those favourites had question marks hanging over them, so I thought she was a chance of upsetting them.”
“To win like she did was a pleasant surprise.”
Hope will now look to back her up in a fortnight.
“We will see what happens, we might get a couple of offers for her now,” he said. “We will look to race her in a fortnight if nothing comes of selling her.”
Hope has been pleased with the start of his training career and said he will continue to focus on a small but select team.
“It has been good but I have only been training one horse and I have been very selective on who I train,” he said.
“I have been pretty lucky to have the horsepower and I certainly had the driving power in Natalie tonight, I have been pretty lucky.”
Meanwhile, Hope is looking forward to his one drive at Ascot Park on Saturday, Mossdale Ben in the Alabar Supremacy Stakes (Heat 3) Mobile Pace (2200m).
“I think he is a good chance. His work has been really good and I would be disappointed if he didn’t go a super race,” Hope said.
“He is a horse that we quite like and he has certainly done a good job, but he is capable of doing an even better job in the long-term.
“He is a nice horse.”