Muscle Mountain puts perfect fresh-up record on the line
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Group One-winning trotter Muscle Mountain will put his unblemished fresh-up record on the line at Addington Raceway on Friday when he contests a star-studded Gr.3 Canterbury Park Cup (2600m).
The Greg and Nina Hope-trained four-year-old is four from four when fresh-up, but he will have his work cut out this time against a formidable line-up that includes Sundees Son, Majestic Man, Oscar Bonavena, and Bolt For Brilliance.
While it is a strong edition of the race, his trainers have faith in their gelding’s ability, although they admit he may need the run compared to some of his rivals.
“We are happy with his progress, he has worked well and has trialled up well,” Greg Hope said.
“There are two or three there that have had a few runs under their belts, so they are a little more race hardened.
“He is entitled to need the run, but in saying that we are happy with him and he has got a good fresh-up record.”
Bred and raced under Ian Dobson’s Cullen Breeding Limited banner, Muscle Mountain proved an exciting prospect last season when winning six and placing in four of his 10 starts, and Hope believes he has improved since then.
“I have no doubt that he is a bigger and stronger horse, he just might take a run or two to get back to his peak fitness,” he said.
“We are looking forward to seeing how he shapes up this year.”
The Hopes will have a two-pronged attack in the race courtesy of Midnight Dash, who has placed in his two starts this preparation, including the Gr.3 Ordeal Trotting Cup (2600m) last month.
“He has had a couple of races under his belt now and has trained on super, so we are expecting him to go a great race tomorrow night,” Hope said.
“He has improved a lot from those runs, I feel he has improved a couple of lengths in his training.”
Earlier on the card Hope is looking forward to lining up promising juvenile Te Rapa in the Avon City Ford 2YO Mobile Trot (1980m).
“He is a lovely wee horse and he will end up doing a great job,” Hope said. “He is not screwed down hard and whatever he does he will improve a lot from.”