Muscle Mountain in record-breaking form ahead of Rowe Cup
By Michael Guerin
Muscle Mountain may have missed the final lead-up race to tonight’s $180,000 Reharvest Rowe Cup but that could be the best thing to happen to him.
The giant trotter will start long odds-on in the Group 1 after a totally dominant autumn and as clearly the best trotter in the country bad luck, manners or below-par fitness would seem his greatest dangers tonight.
While he hasn’t raced for a month his trainers Greg and Nina Hope are certain fitness isn’t a concern after Muscle Mountain broke the track record for a trotter when working at rival trainer John Dickie’s property last week.
“He worked very well and he actually races well fresh so we are really happy with where it is at,” says Nina Hope.
Muscle Mountain accompanied stablemate Eurokash to the races at Alexandra Park last Friday and Muscle Mountain looked fit and ready for tonight’s assignment.
Eurokash proved a great substitute winning the Anzac Cup but not before three false starts and with Muscle Mountain still not foolproof from a stand having to go through that debacle last Friday could have got him in the wrong frame of mind for tonight.
Muscle Mountain has won 28 of his 42 starts but only half of his 14 standing starts and has only started off the front line of standing start race in a full field once in the last 18 months, when he finished second to Sundees Son in a memorable Dominion at Addington in December.
Being a big horse he probably won’t enjoy being sandwiched between horses at barrier 4 tonight and he definitely won’t be suited by a repeat of the farcical scenes at the start of the Anzac Cup.
That more than any rival would pose the greatest threat to tonight the wonderful trotter.
The free-for-all conditions suit Oscar Bonavena and Aldebaran Zeus so they are obvious place chances while Resolve wasn't suited by the three false starts last week and with her standing start manners she could lead and trail and be the best top 4 chance.