Nairn rates Maria Tsarina as open class mare

By Michael Guerin

Paul Nairn knew when David Butt sent him a horse to train it must have been pretty good.

“Davey wouldn’t bother otherwise,” says the master trainer.

Judging by the form of Maria Tsarina the last two Fridays at Addington both Nairn and Butt were right.

The five-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill has made it two wins from as many starts in Nairn’s stable and he says she isn’t finished yet.

“I think she can win her way through to close to the top grade,” says Nairn.

“I knew she must be all right when Davey sent her here. She had won two for him but she had just being trotting a bit rough while he was bringing her up this time in.

“But I didn’t change much when I got her. I just mucked around with her shoes in front and she was good to go.”

When she remained unbeaten for Nairn at Addington last Friday, Maria Tsarina trotted her last 800m in 58 seconds in holding out The Player, both indicating she can keep winning in the intermediate grade.

But Nairn says there is still work to do.

“She still trots a bit rough, she strikes herself high on her shin near the hock. You could see it affecting her the other night on the home bend last Friday.

“So I will have to try and find a way to work on that.

“But if we can sort that out she has a big future.”

That trait means Maria Tsarina won’t be back at Addington this Friday as that home bend striking of her leg has left it a touch swollen, meaning she can have the week off.

In a different vein of form in the same race was last season’s NZ Trotting Derby winner Lotamuscle, who Nairn admits is puzzling him with his form.

“He is obviously better than that but he isn’t showing it at the moment.”

His little two-year-old brother Bitofmuscle is shaping up well for Nairn though and could race against the older horses next month as Nairn prepares him for the two-year-old trots that were missed because of Covid-19 this season and will be run belatedly in September or October next season.

“I have him and another two-year-old coming up well enough they could be factors for races like that.”

Further away than racing than them is this season’s stunning Dominion winner Habibi Inta, who has been sidelined since missing the Interdom Final at Alexandra Park in December.

“He had a suspensory injury them which sounds like it will be ok,” says Nairn.

“It is actually his second one, he had a problem with the suspensory in his other leg and it hasn’t been a problem since he resumed on it so I am hoping we get the same result with this one.

“But I wouldn’t see him being back at the races till probably Labour Weekend at Ashburton.

“That would still give him a shot at defending his Dominion title though.”

That will leave stable newcomer Lemond as Nairn’s early season open class rep and he is coming to hand well, speeding up to faster work after six weeks with his new trainer.

“The way he is coming up some of those traditional races like the Canterbury Park or Banks Peninsula Cups could be in the right time slot for him.” As for this week Nairn will have last season’s Jewels placegetter Gil Favor back at Addington on Friday.

“He is a good honest horse and a handy stayer so he will always be a chance.”

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