Old Town Road gets tough draw in Hunter Cup

By Adam Hamilton

Josh Dickie remains positive but realistic after Old Town Road’s horror barrier draw in Saturday night’s $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton.

Dickie, who part-owns the rising star of NZ harness, conceded it was hard for driver Zachary Butcher to have “any real plans” from outside the back row.

“Unfortunately, somebody had to draw there and we’ve got to own it now,” he said. “There is no real plan from there and Zachary will have to take it as it comes. You’re dictated to by what happens speed-wise up front.”

Old Town Road was underdone when he resumed from a spell with a solid fifth from back in the field to fellow Kiwi star Copy That in last Saturday week’s Ballarat Cup.

Dickie was thrilled with the way he hit the line and his subsequent improvement.

“We’re really happy with him. He’s trained-on so well,” he said.

“We took him into Melton on Tuesday for a buzz around the track and he worked really well. I worked him about four or five yards away from the pegs and he handled the track well.

Dickie certainly hasn’t given up hope from the draw.

“No, no way,” he said. “If he can get within striking distance with a furlong to go, he’ll be right in the finish. He’s so lightning fast as he showed at Ashburton,” he said.

Whatever the result this weekend, Dickie said the trip to Melbourne had been a positive for the exciting pacer.

“It’s great to see him come away and do so well,” he said.

“He’s been down south and now away to Melbourne and he’s only had 15 starts. He’s got it all ahead of him, but he’s getting a good grounding.

“He goes back home with four Group 1 races ahead for him and another NZ Cup to look forward to in November.”

Dickie revealed the long range plan was another trip to Australia for the Brisbane Inter Dominion in November/December.

“All going well, we’d love to bring him back and have a crack at that Inter Dominion,” he said.

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