Latrell scores on debut

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Ben Hope may have been lamenting his footy team’s loss on Friday night, but his spirits were boosted on Sunday when Latrell won on debut at Ashburton.

Named after one of Hope’s favourite rugby league players, South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell, the three-year-old gelding made light work of his opposition when running home to score a comfortable three-length victory in the Happy Birthday “Trevor Robertson” Trot (2400m).

The son of Dream Vacation was backed into $2.30 favouritism off the back of his trial victory last month, and Hope was happy to deliver for punters.

“It was a perfect start,” said Hope, who bred, owns, trains and drives the gelding.

“He trialled really well last week so it was good for him to transfer it to raceday.”

Hope has plenty of time for the gelding and is in no rush to make any concrete plans with him.

“I have got no immediate plans with him. I will just see how he comes through the run and make a plan from there,” he said.

“I have got quite a big opinion of him so I don’t want to rush him too much.”

While Hope loves training and driving, he also has a big passion for breeding, and he is enjoying plenty of success with his broodmare, Unyielding Spirit.

The Love You mare is the dam of Latrell, as well as two-win Muscle Yankee gelding Tedesco, and Father Patrick Yearling filly South Sydney.

Hope has been pleased with all her progeny but rates Latrell as the best horse out of the mare to date.

“She has had two of racing age and Tedesco is a nice horse, but Latrell is the best one out of the mare so far. He is quite a nice horse,” Hope said.

Set to foal to Majestic Son in the coming weeks, Hope has already lined-up her next mating.

“I dropped her off at stud yesterday and she will be due to foal in a couple of weeks,” he said.

“I will probably go to Dream Vacation. He is obviously a bit of an older stallion, but I have spoken to a couple of people and apparently there is a bit of his semen around.

“I have a high opinion of Latrell, so it would be good to get a full-sister or brother to him.”

Meanwhile, Hope is hopeful his team, South Sydney Rabbitohs, can get their season back on track this coming weekend.

“They lost on the weekend but in my opinion they are going to be a good chance in the first week of finals to get into the next round. Hopefully I am right,” he said.

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