Marcoola faces massive task


Clint Ford is well aware of the massive task ahead of Marcoola in Friday night’s New Zealand Trotting Championship.

The 2600m feature will be his first start since a failed Great Southern Star bid in 2600m in January.

And he will do it with the what must rank as one of the quietest ever ‘prep’ runs ahead of a Group 1 race in recent history.

Marcoola comes in to the race after winning a Methven workout in an incredibly sedate 2.24.4 mile-rate last Sunday.

Ford said he had little option but to contain his Dominion-winning speedster when two of the four horses he competed against were not in his league.

“The last couple of weeks it has been hard to get a workout around the place.

“We have been to Motukarara twice and they have cancelled them. So, we went to Methven.

“Justin Smith’s horse [Look Ahead] had only won one race, so you just can’t blitz past them.

“That does them as much good as it does you.”

Marcoola held out race rival Destiny Jones by a length after clocking a 65.5sec last 800m.

The slow hit-out did his rival no harm.

The seven-year-old mare came out six days later and ran third behind Sundees Son and Speeding Spur in last week’s free-for-all trot at Addington.

Ford said lining up in that race was not an option he felt he could take with Marcoola.

Neither was the handicap event Marcoola accepted for at Addington earlier last month.

“I would have like to put him in that mobile race last week, but he would have drawn wide.

“I would have liked to him in that race the week before and given him a quiet run, but you get yourself in trouble with the stipes.

“So, you might as well save it all up.”

Ford said Marcoola’s ability to run well fresh offset his unusual build up for tomorrow night’s Group 1.

He goes pretty good fresh; probably most of his races he has been pretty fresh going in to them.

“He is not a heavy horse, he is pretty fit and he is pretty lean.

“He is not a big, gross stallion; he is more of an athletic looking horse.”

Though Friday night’s race is a Group 1 event, it will also serve as a stepping stone towards Marcoola’s main end of season goal, the Rowe Cup.

“That is the aim, they are all stepping stones until there.

“But you have to prove you worth there this week and then look to that trip to Auckland.”

Ford has a tricky tactical task ahead of him after Marcoola drew in the middle of the front line at barrier 6.

He has two of his main rivals, Kings Landing and Speeding Spur, drawn inside him in barriers 3 and 4, respectively.

Speeding Spur bounced back from his own failure in the Great Southern Star when powering home from last to run second to Sundees Sun in last week’s 1980m free-for-all.

Kings Landing faces his toughest test to date in Friday night’s race though he thoroughly deserves his shot at Group 1 glory after his stunning run of form this season.

The All Stars trotter comes in to the event after beating up on a moderate field at Addington two weeks ago.

Winterfell and Sundees Sun have drawn outside Marcoola in barriers 7 and 8, respectively.

Sundees Sun was stunning in his seven-length demolition of last week’s free-for-all field.

Most importantly, the trotter looked nothing like the fragile version of himself that was seen in the Four and Five-Year-Old Trotting Championship the week prior.

Winterfell ran third in that event and never looked a winning hope.

The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained squaregaiter is almost certain to strip a fitter and more competitive prospect this week.

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