Laver thriving ahead of Ashburton Cup

By Jonny Turner

The signs are ominous for Laver’s opposition ahead of today's Ashburton Cup.

The Geoff and James Dunn trained pacer heads into the 3200m feature on the back of an excellent victory at Addington after being freshened following the New Zealand Cup Carnival.

That freshen up clearly has the pacer feeling well in himself.

Driver Gerard O’Reilly was forced to watch on from the back of the field as Laver powered to his impressive last start victory for junior driver Carter Dalgety.

After checking the replay, O’Reilly rated it one of the pacer’s best wins which sounds like worrying news for the horse’s rivals as he steps up to his preferred staying distance range on Thursday.

“He went really good at Addington, he won it quite easy in the end, it was really good,” O’Reilly said.

“And it was probably one of his better runs.”

“The 3200m will suit him, Ashburton is a faster track but the distance is right up his alley.”

Laver starts from the 10m mark in Thursday’s feature, alongside Shan Noble and Pace N Pride, with Above N Beyond in front of them on the front line.

The pacer has a 10m head start Cranbourne (20m) and a 20m head start on Classie Brigade (30m).

Laver just needs to step away cleanly to make the most of what looks like a competitive handicap.

“He is on the unruly but if he began like he did on Cup Day I would be more than happy,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly combines with a number of decent chances on Ashburton Cup Day including Kohli Trouble in race 1.

The Brent White trained trotter went a big race in his last start at Oamaru after sitting parked throughout.

“He toughed it out really good, I am not sure how much speed he has got on the all-weather but if he trots good and solidly he should be a chance.”

Hey Tonight looks another of O’Reilly’s good hopes in race 2.

“I was quite pleased with the way she went last time, she is pretty laid back, but she found the line nice.”

“The field isn’t as strong this time and I’d say she would run in three the way she went last time.”

O’Reilly is looking for improvement from Sweet Belle in race 11.

The filly is classy when on her game but hasn’t shown that in two runs this time in.

“I have been a bit disappointed in her, it has been below what she can do.”

“But she is really well, she’s eating well and looking good and I’m happy with her.”

“She should get a nice run through at the start, so hopefully she can improve on what she has been doing.”

Brother John looks a strong eachway chance for the reinsman in race 9, while Mossman looks a place chance behind hot favourite Republican Party in race 12.

O’Reilly also combines with Reggie Golightly who will be out to back up his recent upset win at Addington in race 3.

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