Marcoola bows to Massive Metro
NZ HARNESS NEWS
Mistakes by the more favoured runners and a brilliant steer by Todd ‘The Wizard’ Mitchell combined to produce an upset win by Massive Metro in the Gr.1 National Trot at Alexandra Park on Monday night.
Temporale, Lemond and Amaretto Sun tailed the field home after breaking during the race, while Marcoola’s slight miscue in the score up may have only cost him a few lengths, but it may have also cost him the race.
Clint Ford took the hot favourite around the field to lead over the last lap and they seemed set for victory when they sailed down the back with a 28sec penultimate quarter.
But Mitchell had earlier made the winning move by finding the front when The Almighty Johnson eased the pace after an early speed duel with Amaretto Sun.
Marcoola had them all easily covered on the home turn despite doing work, except Massive Metro, who dived up the passing lane to come clear by two lengths at the finish.
It was a searching contest and Marcoola was far from disgraced, with Massive Metro recording the second fastest time of 3.21.1 in the 46-year history of the event.
Only the mare Quite A Moment (3.19.9) has gone faster so Massive Metro now holds the record for males.
It was Massive Metro’s eighth win in a 27-start career and he has only just entered the open class ranks in recent weeks.
“He’s like a school boy in amongst 1st XV rugby players so we’ll just chip away at the good races in Auckland to further his education for the rest of the season,” co-trainer Bernie Hackett, whose mother Nancy is a co-owner, said.
“Todd’s drive was the winning of the race – he knows what he’s doing and he certainly doesn’t need any instructions from us.”
Massive Metro lost no friends when third and fifth in his first two races in open company in Auckland, but showed his inexperience when failing to score up into barrier one for the Flying Mile at Cambridge last week.
“He’s hardly raced left-handed since coming to us and just lost the plot that night. It showed he’s still very much on a learning curve.”
Massive Metro raced half a dozen times for Doyleston trainer Kevin Fairbairn and won a race at Motukarara before being secured for the Hackett & Wallis stable about two years ago.
“We were looking at buying Ruthless Kayla as a filly from Kevin, but when we found out she wasn’t Breeders Crown eligible, we were offered Massive Metro instead.”
Also a five-year-old by Muscle Mass, Ruthless Kayla has won four races to date, while Massive Metro has now won $135,000.
Massive Metro put the icing on the cake to what has been a period of almost total dominance in trotting races at Alexandra Park by Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis in recent times.
They have won 159 races over the past six and a half seasons as a partnership and 137 of them have been trotting races.
During the last three and a half seasons however, they have won 104 races and Massive Metro was their 100th trotting win, most of them in Auckland.
He was also a first Gr.1 winner for Hackett officially, although Bernie and Michelle have been training horses together for around 20 years.
Wallis trained Massive Metro’s dam Paris Metro to an upset win in the National Trot in 2004 and repeated in the race a year later with Delft, who would go on to win an Inter Dominion in Australia.
Later Ima Gold Digger won the Gr.1 NZ Trotting FFA at Addington with Mitchell also at the helm, while Genius was another top trotter, winning 17 races for them.
In more recent times, Massive Metro’s half-brother Commander Paris (10 wins) and Princess Mackendon (9) have been their best performers, that is until Massive Metro came along.