McMillan rolling out team for new season

NZ HARNESS NEWS

The sale of Tornado Valley earlier this year was always going to leave a big hole in Terry McMillan’s stable but the veteran Ashburton horseman has some emerging talent resuming this weekend and his first win for the season won’t be far away.

The Crimson Prince and Sea Rover were both very good trial winners at Ashburton last week ahead of their upcoming racing engagements and while the former has drawn a short straw with a second line post position for a 2000m stand at Addington on Friday night, Sea Rover will be a leading fancy in the hands of junior driver John Morrison at Ashburton on Monday.

The big Sundon gelding won his last two starts at Forbury Park last season and has had three trials this time in, winning a Geraldine workout over Ottawa and Red Hot Poker before his four and a half length romp at Ashburton.

“He’s matured off a good spell and seems to have come up really good,” said McMillan.

“He’s got more condition on and is carrying it much better this time around and his attitude has improved as well.”

Sea Rover has won three races at Forbury Park and most of his form has been at the Dunedin track, but McMillan has always considered Sea Rover “more than a Forbury horse”.

“While he’s been pretty good at the races, earlier he had a bad attitude and could be pretty erratic.

“So, I figured the best thing for him would be to travel and race him rather than working on him at home.

“Or a race at Forbury and then the long trip home would settle him down.

“Ideally I would have liked another trial before Monday and he’ll improve further, but he’s going good enough to be in the thick of things in what is a pretty good field.”

McMillan races Sea Rover himself after breeding him from Humiliate, who won four races for Denis Nyhan and who is a half-sister to good trotters in Monopolise, Rebel Time and Validity.

“I’d won a free service to Sundon and my only trotting mare at the time was by Sundon, so I asked Denis if he had anything I could borrow and he gave me Humiliate.”

McMillan also has the Auckland Reactor mare Chain Reaction engaged in the race prior to Sea Rover at Ashburton with Morrison driving and he says she could cause a surprise.

“She should have won a race long before now as she’s not short on ability.

“There’s been an attitude issue with her but she could win at any time.”

Betterthancheddar gelding The Crimson Prince was placed twice as a juvenile last season in good company and won’t be long winning a race either, although he will need some luck at the start or during the running at Addington on Friday night.

“He’s a big, tall and lean bugger and is probably 18 months away from filling out his frame, but he’s tough and is going to get better and better as he goes along.”

McMillan is looking forward to the likely return of Tornado Valley for Cup Week and will be curious to see how he fares over the two-miles of the Dominion, for which he is listed at $15 at fixed odds.

The son of Skyvalley won seven races and $71,000 for McMillan, but has been going really great guns for Andy and Kate Gath in Australia, winning 11 of his last 13 races and about $200,000 since February.

He won the Gr.1 Grand Prix in March and the Gr.1 Bill Collins Sprint over 1720m in a 1.55.7 mile rate at Melton last weekend.

“His last four wins were over 2600m including two at Addington from 20m, but I always thought he’d be better suited to the mobiles and shorter trips in Victoria and of course the opposition isn’t quite so tough.

“So, I think he’d be a better chance in the FFA on Cup Day, but it will just be good to see him go well, since I’ve got his mother in foal myself.”

Tornado Valley’s dam Begin was that Sundon mare earlier referred to and McMillan has her in foal to Creatine.

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