It's Tough looks tough to beat

By Michael Guerin

Colin DeFilippi would love to give Katie Cox a small Christmas present at Ashburton today.

DeFilippi and his wife Julie are looking after talented two-year-old pacer It’s Tough for regular trainer Cox as she undergoes treatment for cancer.

Cox’s battle is well known in harness racing and the DeFilippis have three of her horses to in work until Cox is back ready to resume training.

“Katie used to work for us and we loved having her here,” says Colin.

“We were admant she should go to university as well as do the horses and she just flew through her degree here.

“But is always a pleasure to be around and how she handled herself through all this, she has the heart of a lion.

“I talk to her quite often and ask her how I should drive her horses.”

DeFilippi will have to pass those instructions on to Bob Butt today as he is driving It’s Tough as Colin recovers from surgery himself that will keep him out of the sulky for another three weeks.

The DeFilippis have found the right race today as It’s Tough drops back from the two-year-old boy’s pace on Grand Prix Day and taking on Major Hot the start before at Timaru.

“I knew a long way from home he was in trouble on Grand Prix Day because they were on and off the pace.

“He hasn’t got that really sharp sprint yet but I think he will develop it with more racing.

“But he is dropping back in grade this week and after two starts back I think he is ready to do some work now.”

A fresh-up winner of the Welcome Stakes back in May, It’s Tough meets only one other race winner today, Laurence Hanrahan’s colt Mighty Flying Lou, who finished seventh in the same Timaru race that It’s Tough ran fourth in last time they met.

Today’s twilight meeting, which runs alongside one at Cambridge, has 10 races but smaller fields than usual at Ashburton yet still has an even look to it so punters will be able to get some value.

One of the better bets could come early in George Eliot, who drops a long way in class to a maiden mobile trot.

She raced well out of her grade against Eurostyle at Addington last Friday while the start before was sixth in the NZ Trotting Oaks won by Sunny’s Sister.

The fillies who finished in front of George Eliot that night excelled in the NZ Trotting Derby that Sunny’s Sister won on December 10.

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