Murray putting in the miles
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
With no harness racing in the Central Districts for the next few months, Levin trainer Murray Gibbs has been forced to make the long trek north to Cambridge to race his mare Manhattan Sunshine.
Gibbs made the six-hour journey on Wednesday, giving his mare time to settle in before contesting the Gregory Equine Matamata Mobile Pace (1700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday.
“That (travel) is our biggest problem down here, it is very frustrating,” Gibbs said.
“She is not the best of travellers, but is okay.”
“I want to keep this mare going, so I have just given her a freshen-up and we will give her a few starts up here.”
The five-year-old mare finally started to hit her straps last preparation, adding a couple of wins to her tally, fulfilling the promise owner-trainer Gibbs had seen at home.
“I am very pleased with her,” Gibbs said. “She has matured a lot and that is one of the reasons why I want to keep her going. She has good form and has been working great.
“Up until her last preparation I had been a bit disappointed in her because she had always worked like a good horse. She hasn’t always put it in on raceday.
“We didn’t change anything, she just matured and started to put it in on the racetrack.”
Manhattan Sunshine will be the only horse on the second line in her race, but that doesn’t overly perturb Gibbs.
“I ummed and ahhed what race to put her in,” he said.
“She has actually got a penalty free win which was great, but they have made the draw in this race on winning stakes.
“She doesn’t get the benefit of her penalty free win and she has got quite a good winning stake, which has cost her a good draw.
“I wanted a 1700m fresh-up and if we get some luck from there she will go a good race.”
Gibbs won’t return home to Levin with his mare, instead entrusting her to local trainer Mike Berger to campaign in the north over the next month.
“I am good mates with Mike Berger and I will leave her up here with Mike for a couple of weeks for the next meeting, just because of the travelling back and forth,” Gibbs said.
“If she goes well in that then she will probably have another start and try to qualify for that winter series final.”