Hopes line up big team at Nelson today

by Jonny Turner

The old firm of Greg and Nina Hope and Ricky May look a big chance of adding to their hundreds of wins together at Nelson on Friday.

May will put on the Monbet colours to combine with six runners from the Hope stable at Richmond Park while Ben Hope is on the sidelines through suspension.

While Ben hasn’t been able to fulfil his driving duties, he is still well and truly on the job as the Hope stable’s media representative.

There is only one slight query in the Hope camp heading into the Nelson Cup with their exciting pacer Celtic Spirit.

And it’s around the four-year-old reverting from mobile sprint racing to a standing start staying event.

“I am not sure whether he will settle over the 3200m but if anyone can settle him Ricky May can,” Ben Hope said.

“I am reasonably confident that he will step away, it is just a question of whether he will settle after that.”

“If you knew he was going to relax you would say he would go a pretty good race, he is a lovely horse.”

“But there is just that question mark over his ringcraft.”

Jonny Cox will drive Homebush Lad from a 35m handicap in the Nelson Cup.

There are no queries about the pacer’s ability to handle 3200m.

“He should go good, it won’t be easy for him from the back mark but he is racing well and you’d think he would go another good race,” Hope said.

“Obviously he’s more of a grass horse, I am sure he will race honestly.”

The Hope barn and Ricky May will also combine with Blue Rock Dancer in race 10.

The pacer will shoot for a hat-trick of wins after two victories on grass.

“We have been really happy with his progress.”

“There is a slight question mark over the all-weather, but he trialled well on it early on.”

“If he handles the grit you would have to say he is just about the horse to beat.”

The Hope stable also start Glengarry Moonlight in race 11 with Ricky May to drive.

The pacer hasn’t trialled ahead of his return to the track, but he has an excellent record at Richmond Park.

Michael Caine comes into race 4 on the back of a second placing at Motukarara last weekend.

May takes over from driver John Dunn who recommended gear changes following the horse’s latest outing.

“He works like a nice horse, Johnny thought he got to the front and pulled up last weekend.”

“He recommended we change a little bit of gear so hopefully that does the trick.”

There is a clash among the Hope camp in Friday’s feature trot with the Ben Hope-trained Latrell taking on the Greg and Nina Hope-trained Eurokash.

The Hope barn also starts McCrikey in race 8 on the first day of the two-day Nelson meeting which continues on Sunday.



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