Little between Hill’s two-year-olds

By Jonny Turner

Betting markets suggests there is more between two-year-olds Van Shard and Jimmy James Maguire than trainer Brendon Hill thinks there is.

The stablemates will go head-to-head in their debuts against rival two-year-olds over 1980m in race 4 at Addington on Wednesday.

Van Shard opened the race’s fixed-odds second favourite at $3.50 while Jimmy James Maguire was rated the outsider of the field at $9.

Going by their recent trials, Hill does not think there is as much between the pair as people may think.

“Van Shard has been trialling good, but I think the other fella has been trialling just as good.”

“He just lugged in a bit coming up the straight but when he straightened up he really hit the line good at Ashburton last time.”

“They are probably quite different horses, one rolls off the gate really good.”

“Jimmy James Maguire – if we can get him steering a bit better he is a nice horse too.”

“There is probably not as much between them as people think after what Van Shard did at the trials the other day.”

Hill is referring to Van Shard’s sparkling effort to beat Jimmy James Maguire (4th) and fellow race rivals Cut N Run (2nd) and Cosmic Major (3rd) when running his last 400m in 26.6sec to win his latest Ashburton trial earlier this month.

The victory came after the gelding beat Cut N Run (3rd) and Cosmic Major (4th) in his previous trial at Rangiora.

Van Shard has landed on the speed in both of those runs and Hill expects him to be there again for driver Matthew Williamson.

“He will just roll off the gate and I would say he would lead.”

“It will just depend on what Matty wants to do.”

“It’s not like the trials, we don’t have to hand to anyone if he is happy to bowl along in front then I am happy with that.”

Jimmy James Maguire hit the line strongly in his Ashburton trial effort behind Van Shard.

Hill has been working on getting his pacer ready to race as he progresses through his trials.

And with each outing the trainer and the horse’s driver and part-owner Ricky May are making progress.

“I had a light hopple on him and he just didn’t like it,” Hill said.

“So Ricky said to change his hopple, everything is good at home but when you leave the property Ricky feeds me more information.”

“So we just changed to him to a heavier hopple and he never went rough at Ashburton the other day, he paced real nice.”

“He did run in a bit, so we have changed a couple of things to get him steering better.”

Cosmic Major was rated the $2.80 favourite on race 4’s market opening.

The Hayden Cullen trained pacer hit the long strongly behind Van Shard in his Ashburton trial win.

May and Hill will also combine with Fancy in race 2 on Wednesday.

The four-year-old goes into the 1980m event after running out of room, second up in her last start at Addington.

“First up she got left parked, we hoped to roll forward and get the front but that didn’t quite happen,” Hill said.

“Then at the finish she just blew out, she needed the run so I thought she went good.”

“Last start she just had no room and she was travelling really good, she was really unlucky.”

Fancy starts from barrier 3 and likes to lead, but it may not be as simple as May sending her straight to the front.

“It looks like quite a winnable race for her, but there does look to be a bit of speed inside her,” Hill said.

“I am not sure if Majorca will stay in front or want to hand to us.”

“We have won two races in front, it could be a bit tactical, but I am really happy with her work.”

“She is coming along really good.”

Fancy opened at $5 in race 2’s fixed odds win market.

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