Hunter chasing down 100 wins
By Jonny Turner
Trainer Peter Hunter has forgiven Rakanotta for having a bad day at the office ahead of her return to Ascot Park on Saturday.
The three-year-old showed quality when winning her debut at Winton before running a nice second in her next start at Ascot Park.
Rakanotta then laboured after being peeled out three-wide in her next outing on the same track, eventually running ninth behind Tac Mac.
Hunter put the effort down to inexperience and isn’t dwelling on the performance.
“We are all allowed an off day,” the trainer said.
“She had a steering issue and we have made some gear changes and hopefully she will be better on Saturday.”
“She doesn’t handle Ascot Park as well as the bigger tracks.”
“But the main thing is she hasn’t got the experience those horses she is racing against have got, she just needs a bit more ringcraft yet.”
Hunter is confident that if Rakanotta is able more tractably on Saturday she can measure up with her rivals in race 6.
“I think she will be alright in that field, it will just be how she handles the track.”
Brent Barclay takes the reins behind Rakanotta with Hunter to drive last start winner Emma Stone.
Emma Stone steps up in grade after clearing maidens impressively in her last outing at Ascot Park.
“It is quite a big step up for her, she got into quite a good race for her rating last time,” Hunter said.
“She went nice and I have been happy with her, it will just be whether she can step up into the next grade.”
Emma Stone starts from barrier 4 with Rakanotta outside her in barrier 7.
Hunter lines up another strong contender from Brendan Fahy’s Raka breed in Rakareplay in race 1.
The three-year-old comes into Saturday’s event on the back of a tidy second behind Paddy Finn at Ascot Park.
After progressing well in her six career starts, Rakareplay looks poised to strike.
“I have been quite happy with her, she struggled a bit in her first couple of starts but she has kept improving.”
“It is just a matter of her taking the next step up to win.”
Hunter will drive Rakareplay, who looks perfectly placed in barrier 3.
The Ryal Bush trainer-driver also starts Port Au Prince in race 7.
The three-year-old has drawn towards the outside of the front line for the third consecutive start in barrier 7.
The pacer looks to measure up extremely well against his rivals on Saturday but just needs a slice of luck from his wide gate.
“He just needs a decent draw, we got one in the Southern Supremacy that doesn’t count,” Hunter said.
“He has just been getting too far back, if he can be a bit handier it would help a lot.”
A big day out on Saturday could take Peter Hunter to 100 career wins as a trainer.
He goes into the meeting on 97.