Hope stable fires up at Addington trials
By Jonny Turner
If recent trials are anything to go by, the Hope stable is set to make a mark when winter racing resumes next week.
Husband and wife trainers Greg and Nina Hope, who work their team with the aid of son and junior driver, Ben, had a field day at Wednesday’s trials at Addington racking up four wins and two quinellas.
The effort came nearly a week after three of the Hope team scored at the first post-lockdown trial meeting.
Talented, but frustrating trotter Matua Tana looked set for victory last week before rolling in to an all too familiar late gallop.
The big, free striding square-gaiter was back to the kind of form that saw him sent out a New Zealand Cup day favourite when scoring in Wednesday’s fast 2600m class trot for driver Gerard O’Reilly.
The turnaround was put down to a key gear change that is hoped will help the six-year-old deliver on his potential.
“Last week led all of the way, but had a gallop again,” Ben Hope said.
“Gerard suggested we put an undercheck on him, so we did.”
“And when he came back in he said he was a different horse, so we were rapt.”
Midnight Dash showed he was on target for the upcoming rescheduled three-year-old trotting features when running in to second, three quarters of a length behind his stablemate.
“Midnight Dash went really good, he was held up by a tiring horse on the home bend and ran home really nice,” Hope said.
It is possible both Matua Tana and Midnight Dash could race at next week’s first post-lockdown meeting at Addington, but no firm race returns have been set for either horse.
The Hope stable also notched a quinella when unveiling two smart two-year-olds in yesterday’s 2600m qualifying trot.
Just a half-head margin separated Tedesco and Summer Lovin, who were both bred by the Hope family.
“Summer Lovin will probably press on a hopefully aim towards the good two-year-old races that are going to be run.”
“Tedesco is a nice horse, but I feel like he is probably six months away.”
“The plan was to qualify him and then then give him a couple of workouts before giving him a spell.”
Franco Jorik is another of the Hope team’s two-year-old trotters is also on a path towards races like the NZ Sires Stakes Championship.
Though the Muscle Mass trotter was well beaten by impressive winner, Mighty Flying Rocker, Hope was pleased with his horse’s effort.
“Even though he was beaten by eight lengths I was pretty stoked with how he went considering he is just a wee two-year-old against older horses over 2600m.”
“He is probably not going to be one of the favourites when the big races come around, but if he got the right trip he could definitely feature in them.”
Makura was another of the Hope team that showed she was on track for a good return to racing on Wednesday when winning a non-winners’ trot over 2600m.
The Andover Hall three-year-old failed to flatter in three starts earlier than this season, but is better than those performances suggest.
“We took her to Westport at Christmas time and she didn’t handle the track, then she ran off the track in her next start and nearly touched the outside running rail,” Hope said.
“She stepped really well in her trial and showed great manners to lead the whole way.”
Mossdale Mac showed his promise when winning at Wednesday’s trials.
The two-year-old is likely to need more practice at trials and workouts before heading to the races.
Mossdale Mac’s half-sister, Mossdale Art won at last week’s trials for the Hope stable.