Quality Field Ensures Epic Jug Clash
By Jonny Turner
The Methven Trotting Club has put its own spin on one of North America’s most popular harness races and the result is the inaugural running of the Little Green Jug on Sunday.
An excellent field is set to provide the same kind of excitement as Ohio’s Little Brown Jug but in uniquely Kiwi surroundings of one of New Zealand’s most popular grass tracks.
Drawing barrier five under the race’s preferential barrier draw has seen Sweet Belle installed the early favourite for the first-ever running of the Little Green Jug.
A standout winner of her first two starts, the Gerard O’Reilly trained filly comes into the race after running fourth at Motukarara and fifth at Addington.
A massively improved draw and her upgraded fitness mean the filly should be much tougher to beat on Sunday.
“At Motukarara she drew seven on the second row and when I pulled back I knew we were buggered,” O’Reilly said.
“But she ran home really good for fourth and I was really pleased.”
“Last start it was my fault, I had her too pretty looking and she took advantage of me.”
“The one that won it (Nirvana Beach) rolled along all the way and it just took the stuffing out of her.”
“But I wasn’t too disappointed in her.”
“She should be a bit fitter now, I have kept the work up to her and kept her off the grass a bit more.”
“She has been doing a bit well, so she should be a much better horse.”
After drawing barrier 9 and 16 in her last two starts, O’Reilly plans to make the most of his barrier 5 draw on Sunday.
“I will have to go forward because we have the better ones outside us.”
“You have got to take advantage of the draw.”
“Hopefully we can roll forward without too much pressure on the inside.”
O’Reilly also lines up A Rocknroll Star in the inaugural running of the Little Green Jug.
The three-year-old has not gone a bad race in his short career and likely to produce another honest effort on Sunday with O’Reilly’s daughter Sarah in the sulky.
“He is just an honest wee bugger, he is a nice horse to have around the place,”O’Reilly said.
“He is honest and genuine and that is how he races.”
“He is the only one on the second row, so he will need a bit of luck from there.”
“But he won’t disgrace himself.”
O’Reilly’s pair are among a high-quality Little Green Jug field which includes standout grass track performers Boora, Got You Covered and Corravally Star.
Boora comes in to Sunday’s race on the back of two strong wins on grass at Blenheim, recently.
Corravally Star will be out to keep his unbeaten record on grass intact in Sunday’s feature.
Got You Covered will attempt to back up his standout performance when dead-heating with Gilligan’s Island on grass in the Motukarara Christmas Cup.
Sally Lindenny looks the best of O’Reilly’s remaining drives on Sunday’s card.
The Kevin Townley trained five-year-old comes into race 5 after running second in her last start at Motukarara.
“She went really good last start, she trotted away good and finished off really well,” O’Reilly said.
“If she can begin as well off the front row as she has off the second row she should be right in it.”