Hurrell hot to trot
By Jonny Turner
Junior driver Mark Hurrell’s chances in the squaregaiting events at Ascot Park on Wednesday look hot to trot.
The Waikouaiti reinsman will drive last start runners-up Count Eyre and Sage Trouble, who bring excellent formlines to their assignments.
There is hardly any better form in New Zealand’s lower trotting grades at the moment than running second to rising star Bitamuscle.
If Count Eyre can repeat his last start effort of getting within two and a half lengths of the promising Paul Nairn trained colt he should be very hard to beat in race 6.
“I thought if he could step and run along a wee bit, on his form he should be pretty hard to beat,” Hurrell said.
“I haven’t driven him before, so stepping him is going to be the biggest thing.”
“But I would say if I could step him away he will be a great chance.”
Count Eyre will have a 10m advantage over his main rival, Rydgemont Milly when he starts from the front row in Wednesday’s 2200m event.
Rydgemont Milly comes in to the race after overcoming a 10m handicap to beat a similar field at Ascot Park two weeks ago.
Hurrell will drive Sage Trouble following her excellent second behind Jaguar Bay at Winton last week.
The first two finished more than seven lengths in front of the third placed South Park, who starts alongside Sage Trouble in race 3.
Hurrell is hopeful with a quicker getaway this week, Sage Trouble can go one better.
“It was quite a good run last week, I thought.”
“She didn’t have much luck early in the race and the first two streeted the rest.”
“I would say if we could step and keep handy and stay in front of the main ones she would be tough to beat.”
Sage Trouble starts from the 30m mark in race 3, with only two horses in front of her on the front line.
Hurrell also drives Bettathanraza in race 4 following her last start fourth behind Wattlebank Lass at Ascot Park two weeks ago.
“It wasn’t a bad effort last time, but she is pretty green and still has a bit to learn.”
“She is a place chance in that race.”
Tad Lincoln looks a outside hope for Hurrell in race 3 as does Sagwitch in race 8.
If he is on his game, the latter has the ability feature in what is set to be a hotly contested 2200m event.
Race 8 sees an exciting clash between up and comers Watch Me Now and Maximus Prost and established middle grade horses Burnham Boy and Nota Bene Denario.
Maximus Prost and Nota Bene Denario both come in to the event after producing excellent last start wins on the track.
Burnham Boy brings a last start fifth in a good field at Addington to the race after running third behind Robyns Playboy in track record time in his previous run.
Watch Me Now will start for the first time on Wednesday since putting together back to back wins at Wyndham in February.
The 4yr-old, who ran a 1.53.5 mile (1609m) in the first of those victories, has had three post-lockdown workouts to prepare for her return to racing.
She won the first before running third behind Bridesdale Robyn in her next.
Watch Me Now was second behind Pearl Harbour in her latest public appearance at the Winton workouts two weeks ago.