National records under threat at Winton
NZ HARNESS NEWS
The rare opportunity to race from a standing start over one mile (1609m) puts national records under threat at Winton on Saturday.
Two fields of pacers and one field of trotters will get the chance to put their name in the national history books if they can break open or age-group records.
Pacers have the chance to end Thumper’s near 22-year reign as the national all-comers standing start mile record holder.
Saturday’s meeting comes just one day short of the 22nd anniversary of his sizzling 1.57.1 victory at Addington in 1997.
The David Mitchell-trained pacer, by Power Bunny from the Tuft mare, Sally Tuft, held out Lyell’s Creek’s half brother, Swan Creek, by a neck to start a term as the national record-holder that has lasted more than two decades.
Maiden pacers will get the first crack at Thumper’s record in race 4 on Saturday.
Classy Kid showed the standing start manners needed for mile racing in his last start at Wyndham.
The Jason and Amber Lethaby-trained pacer stepped to the lead, before being shuffled back in to a horror spot and running an unlucky eighth.
“He was unlucky, I don’t know if he would have won it, but he would have run in the money,” Amber Lethaby said.
“He probably needed that run as well, because it had been three weeks between races."
“I was happy enough with him; walking around and sprinting home is not really his go.”
Barrier two, combined with Classy Kid’s excellent standing start manners and his like for short-course racing looks a winning formula for Saturday's race.
“As long as the middle ones don’t get a run in, we should be able to hold our spot.”
“If he can lead, the mile should suit.”
Lifeofbrian went a big race for third in the same event Classy Kid contested last time out, won by Altimeter.
The Murray Swain-trained pacer stepped very slowly and cannot afford to do that again from the unruly in Saturday’s race.
Canterbury pacer Kiwi Bloke’s recent standing start manners make him a leading chance in the event.
The five-year-old stepped straight to the lead in both of his recent starts on the West Coast.
Trainer Ivan Court, whose horses are highly regarded as fast beginners, starts Ardent Lustre in Saturday’s second standing start mile race.
Like many of Court’s horses, Ardent Lustre possesses brilliant standing start manners.
In his last try from behind the tapes the pacer stepped straight to the lead in a stronger race at Nelson in January.
Ardent Lustre is well placed in the race as a seven-race winner.
Groomsman also gets in to the race well as a 10-race winner.
The Hamish Hunter trained veteran’s chances took a slight hit when he drew on the second line.
The all comers national standing start mile record for trotters could also be under threat on Saturday.
A 2.03.4 mark was set by Mortician in September of last year in what was the first race run under mile standing start conditions for nearly 50 years.
Maiden trotters will get their chance to challenge that time in Saturday’s first race.