Nairn gears up for grass track return

By Jonny Turner

There will be plenty of familiar sights when grass track harness racing returns at Methven today.

Punters will be greeted with big, even fields and wide-open betting races when a fantastic 11-race programme gets underway.

There will also be another familiar sight at the picturesque Mount Harding Raceway – that of Paul Nairn lining up key runners in trotting races.

Among them is the impressive recent Addington winner Head Em Up.

The two-year-old produced a massive debut victory at Addington recently when recovering from an early break to win.

The trotter has been freshened since then and he broke in a returning trial at Rangiora.

While Head Em Up clearly has more to learn about racing, there is no doubting his motor.

“The ability is there, he is just a bit highly strung at times,” Nairn said.

“It will just be the ringcraft that could be the issue on Sunday, hopefully that will improve with time.”

“I don’t think it will take a lot for him to start doing things right, we are hopeful he will do that with more racing.”

The Ivy League returns from a spell in race 9 for the Nairn stable.

The trotter showed she was good enough to race in age group features last time in.

While the three-year-old will improve with her outing on Sunday, her trainer thinks she is forward enough to run a tidy race.

“I am happy enough with her, I don’t think she is quite at her best yet but I think she is ready to go a nice race,” Nairn said.

“If she was able to run in the first three or four I would be happy with her.”

High Noon starts in race 1 on the back of an unlucky an unlucky fresh up seventh at Addington.

The three-year-old was checked early in the run home, which put him out of contention.

With more luck the trotter can make an impact at Methven.

“We are hopeful that he has benefitted from that first up run,” Nairn said.

“Hopefully he will improve with a bit of racing, he is not a wee star or anything but he should be a nice horse in this grade.”

Stacy Whatuira will be out to secure her first driving win since 2018 with High Noon, after recently returning to the sulky.


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