Juniors to square off with classy trio

By Jonny Turner

It would be a case of ‘may the best junior driver win’ in the feature pace at Gore on Sunday.

Storm Prince and driver John Morrison will clash with Franco Santino and Mark Hurrell and Smarter VC and Alana Cameron in the 2200m event.  

Franco Santino will attempt to get one back on Storm Prince after last weekend’s Kurow Cup.

Storm Prince bounced back to his best form when pinching a break on Franco Santino, who was back in the pack and stuck in traffic, before running in to fourth placing.

Drawing barrier 8 sees Storm Prince start outside both of his main rivals.

Franco Santino will be in barrier 6 and Smarter VC in barrier 7.

Hurrell said he may choose to make full use of his superior draw with the Nathan Williamson trained Franco Santino.

“He got too far back in the Kurow Cup,” the junior driver said. 

“It might be a case of us taking the bull by the horns and going straight to the front and seeing if the others can catch us.”

“I will talk to Nathan about it and see how he wants the horse driven.”

The step back from 2600m to 2200m could also help Franco Santino turn the tables on Storm Prince.

The 5yr-old has shown a good turn of foot in sprint races, including winning a mile event (1609m) in 1.52.0

“He has always had a good turn of foot,” Hurrell said. 

“I am looking forward to driving him and seeing how he goes.”

Storm Prince’s victory came after he had not had a public appearance in over a month.

Morrison said he expects the Paul Court trained pacer to strip an even fitter prospect on Sunday.

“He was really good the other day and he will probably improve off the run a bit because he was fresh up” the junior driver said.

“Paul is happy enough with him.”

Morrison said he will approach that scenario with an open mind.

“We will just have to make up our mind early and see what everyone else is going to do.”

Its unlikely that Smarter VC will run the gate if trainer Matt Purvis’ recent comments are anything to go by.

Purvis said before the pacer’s last start the horse is at his best when being driven for one run.

That is exactly how Cameron steered him in his last start at Addington and those tactics paid off when Smarter VC helped her notch her first win.

Storm Prince, Franco Santino and Smarter VC look much better placed than their five rivals in race 7 on Sunday.

Their mid 70s ratings mean their opposition give away a decent handicapping advantage by starting on level marks from behind the mobile.

Veteran and in form trotters Noble Mistress and Anothersuperstar look set to at least fight out the start of Sunday’s feature trot.

The rejuvenated Noble Mistress will shoot for a hat trick of wins in the 2200m handicap for trainer-driver Matt Anderson.

The 8yr-old began quickly before going on to win at Oamaru last weekend.

Anothersuperstar also began quickly, before she tired from the 400m, in a stronger event over 2600m at the same meeting

The Ricky Allen trained 12yr-old looks better suited over 2200m on Sunday.

Though it remains to be seen whether Noble Mistress and Another Superstar fight out the finish, the speedy beginners look almost certain to be two of the fastest horses in to stride. 

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