Lemond returns Friday night
By Michael Guerin
Lemond has the perfect blueprint of how to win his comeback race this Friday night even off a 50m handicap.
But trainer Ross Paynter says he is not sure his stable star is fit enough to follow that plan.
Just last Friday Speeding Spur, a trotter Lemond beat two starts ago in the Anzac Cup, was able to return with a win off 50m against almost exactly the same field Lemond meets this week.
Speeding Spur’s connection went into the race far from confident and while a relatively sedate speed and the fact leader Mr Good And Evil galloped late helped, it was still one hell of a win.
So that suggests Lemond could so something similar at Alexandra Park this Friday but Paynter says that plan has one small flaw.
“I think Speeding Spur may have been more forward than we are,” he explains.
“Speeding Spur had two trials going into his race whereas we have only had one.
“I was actually going to trial him again this weekend but with the way the race has panned out it is a good comeback one because Speeding Spur and Temporale aren’t there.
“So it will be hard off 50m but not impossible. I suppose if they go 3:30 off the front it might be too tough but if they go 3:33 then he will be right in play.”
Lemond hasn’t raced since finishing fourth in the Rowe Cup in April but finished right alongside Temporale at the Pukekohe workouts last Saturday, both horses looking strong.
They are set to meet in a sprint race on Friday week that will also host Speeding Spur as all three northeners start to edge toward Cup week.
“That (Cup week) is the aim for us, it has to be because $300,000 races like the Dominion don’t come along that often.
“And I think if the trotters from up here and horses like Great Things Happen and Monbet turn up it could be the race of the week.”
Paynter and owner Charlie Hunter will also look at the Inter Dominions in Victoria starting December 1 with Lemond.
“If he comes through Cup week well then we have to seriously think about going because he is a good mobile horse with gate speed.
“At the moment he is sound and happy so if he stays that way all those races will remain possibilities.