Positive vibes only in Muscle Mountain camp
By Jonny Turner
Ben Hope is ready to take on the biggest challenge of his career when rising star Muscle Mountain starts in the Group One Renwick Farms Dominion on Show Day.
Hope faces the challenge of navigating a path around or through a maximum field in the 3200m feature from barrier 15.
Many pundits, as well as bookmakers who significantly lengthened the four-year-old’s Dominion quote, have put plenty of stock in how the wide, second-row draw could affect the exciting trotter’s chances.
But it’s a case of positive vibes only for Hope who firstly has full faith in Muscle Mountain, and secondly isn’t taking a backward step away from the challenge.
“It is only a bad draw after the race and you can’t go in there with negative energy.”
“You have got to be positive, but it is obviously going to make things tougher.”
“The Dunns are obviously suited by Sundees Sun and Mataderos drawing the front row, but we are more than happy with where Muscle Mountain is at and he is primed to run a big race and I am primed to drive a big one.”
“I am certainly looking forward to the challenge.”
Blistering speed saw Muscle Mountain easily hold out several of his Dominion rivals in the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile after he missed away first up in the Canterbury Park Trotters Cup.
The four-year-old stepped perfectly and again used his speed to hold out key rivals Sundees Son and Mataderos in the South Bay Trotters Cup.
His draw, the 3200m trip and the pressure of a Group One means it is Muscle Mountain’s stamina that will be tested like never before.
Hope again has full confidence that his horse can thrive on that pressure.
“I would like to think so, he is pretty versatile, if it does turn into a staying affair it is only going to really help me, especially if we are off the speed.”
“I feel like no matter what time we go he is still going to have that speed at the finish.”
“He has probably been known for his real quickness, there probably aren’t too many trotters quicker than him.”
“But he has shown that he has got staying prowess and that he can stay a bit, too.”
“However the race is run he is good enough to make his own luck.”
Trainers Greg and Nina Hope also line up Midnight Dash in the Dominion on Friday.
The consistent trotter is highly unlikely to shirk his task in the 3200m feature.
“He would be one to throw in your First4s, he just wants them to go really hard and for him to do no work and he will be running on.”
Ricky May takes the reins behind Midnight Dash.