Muscle Mountain gets back on track at Addington
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
There aren’t many opportunities to race over a mile at Addington Raceway and Muscle Mountain made the most of it on Friday night.
The Muscle Hill five-year-old was sent out a $1.50 favourite for the Nevele R Stud Trotters Mobile Flying Mile (1609m) and duly delivered for punters.
From his wide draw, Ricky May went back early with Muscle Mountain but he didn’t stay there for long, sending his charge forward with 1100m to go to sit parked outside The Dominator.
May sat quietly before unleashing Muscle Mountain down the straight where he ran away to a 1-1/4 length victory over the fast finishing Oscar Bonavena, and posted a time of 1:56.3 for the mile.
Trainers Greg and Nina Hope were pleased to see their star trotter back on track after his early indiscretion cost him all chance in a standing start last week at Addington.
“He went super, with a bit of a freshen-up he has come back really good,” Greg Hope said.
“It was trainer error last week. I just had him a little bit underdone that he missed the barrier. He just got a bit worked up and a bit excited.
“We went back to our normal pattern with him and he was nice and settled tonight.
“They don’t run a mile at Addington too often, the fact that they went a track record you can tell they don’t race it that often, but 1:56 is a pretty respectable run.”
Hope is now eyeing a return to Addington Raceway where Muscle Mountain will have the chance to defend his crown in the Gr.1 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship (2600m).
“I will talk to Ian (Dobson, owner-breeder) but I am pretty sure we will go straight into the Fred Shaw now, we will probably miss next week,” Hope said.
“There is no point going back to the stand, we will keep him to the mobile and try and defend his title in the Fed Shaw if we can.”