Kango puts his hand up for a slot in the Race by Grins

by Michael Guerin

Kango put his hand up for another start in the Race By Grins with a shock win in the Founders Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

The Cambridge pacer was beautifully driven by David Butcher to win at early speed duel with Alta Wiseguy then controlled the speed and sprinted too well for the late-charging Mach Shard.

The run suggested Kango wouldn’t be out of his depth again in his home track iconic event at Cambridge, especially as the rest of the local stocks look thin away from the horses expected to already have starts. 

It was his 14th career win in 59 starts to continue a great record trainer Arna Donnelly has in picking up the races just below the elite level with the big boy.

Meanwhile, trainer John Dickie isn’t pushing the panic button just yet even after Old Town Road missed his first race of the season at Alexandra Park in that same race.

The speedster woke up on Friday morning with an abscess in a hoof that force him to miss the Founders Cup.

But Dickie says he hopes the abscess bursts out in a few days and he can race Old Town Road in next week and the week after to get him ready for his expected spot in the Race by Grins on April 12.

“I think if I can start him next week and then in the City Of Auckland Free-For-All we can still get him there,” sayd Dickie.

“I realise that you can’t go in a race of that quality against those sort of horses without at least a couple of runs under his belt so I think racing next week is crucial.”

All is not lost though as Old Town Road could race on March 22 and then the week before the Race by Grins at Cambridge so Dickie has time.

Earlier on Friday night the bookies copped a black eye when Confederate won on debut for trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan.

He was remarkably opened $18 last Thursday by bookies but was backed into $7.50 and after securing the passing lane to beat Sugar Ray Lincoln, who looks a smart juvenile do judging by how he held on for second after losing a mid-race shot for the lead.

It is rare enough for Purdon/Phelan horse of any sort to open that long in an Alexandra Park race let alone in a juvenile one and after Friday night’s result it might be the last time for a while.

The other juvenile race was won by Lincoln Lou for trainer Ray Green while earlier Canterbury junior driver Carter Dalgety got his first Alexandra Park winner when Skipper made the most of a perfect passing lane run to win the first race.

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