McGrath due a turnaround in fortunes

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Nigel McGrath has had a pretty forgettable season so far but this weekend should spark a turnaround in his fortunes.

McGrath has only won two races - with three-year-old Gran Chico - but could easily win at least two more at this weekend’s ‘double header’ of grass track racing in Canterbury.

McGrath is confident with Artstanding at Motukarara today.

The three-year-old half-brother to Lazarus caught the eye when charging home for fourth in the last Sires Stakes heat at Addington, but was never going to be a factor from a wide draw in the final given the speed they were going.

“In that heat he got home as good as any of them after being last at the quarter, so you’d have to think he’d be winning a race like that at Motukarara,” said McGrath on Friday.

“He got beaten up on Cup Day but again he had to go back from a wide draw and they went ballistic up front.

“He was in a lather of sweat before that race so it will be good to go somewhere a lot more low key with him.

“My only concern would be a wet track, which can make good horses look bad.”

McGrath also rates Gore Bay a good each way chance a bit earlier.

The noted grass track performer also resumed on Show Day at Addington from a wide draw, but also faces a significant drop in class.

A four-time winner in his first season of racing as a three-year-old, Gore Bay only got into the race with a concession from junior driver Mark Hurrell and starts from the outside of the front line under the preferential draw.

“He’s really good on the grass tracks but we’ll have to see how things pan out with the weather.

“My track is all weather but it’s a bog at the moment.”

To further underline the high opinion that McGrath holds for Artstanding though, he is likely to go to Auckland next month with the Sales race on New Years’ Eve in mind.

The Art Major colt was a $120,000 purchase at the Premier Sale by David Renwick of Enterprise Homes.

Also probably heading to Auckland is stable star Sheriff after a minor setback kept him out of the Cup Week action.

“He went good at the Cup Trials but afterwards he wasn’t pacing properly and had a wee hoof issue that needed fixing.

“He’s back on track now though and I think we’re due a change in luck, to be fair.”

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