Saunders pair ready for Winton

By Jonny Turner 

Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders has not left room for many excuses if his pacers Rah De Rah and Sadhana do not perform at Winton on Thursday. 

Both stable newcomers will attempt to continue their good form when starting from handy barrier draws for leading reinsman Blair Orange.

Rah De Rah won his first start for Saunders at Gore, before running in to fifth behind Donegal Mary Francis at Ascot Park, last weekend.

The trainer was initially disappointed with the 8yr-old’s last start effort, but a closer look at the race’s fast closing sectionals changed his mind. 

“He is just not a sit sprinter – he used to be before, but against these wee bit better ones he needs to be out rolling and he gets his chance to do that this week,” Saunders said.

Saunders is still learning about the 8yr-old after having him for less than a month.

Rah De Rah had a quiet two weeks and could have still have had improvement left in him leading in to his last start. 

“If there was any excuse, I was possibly a bit easy on him going in to that last run,” Saunders said. 

“If anything I think he will be improved from the run.”

Drawing barrier 1 in race 5 means Rah De Rah should be perfectly placed to land on the speed on Thursday. 

Though Saunders will not be issuing any instructions to Orange, it looks a logical game plan for the horse to try to lead all of the way. 

“Drawn one around Winton – he is unbeaten on that track,” the trainer said.

Sadhana continued Saunders’ brilliant form with horses new to his stable when winning in her first start for him at Ascot Park on Saturday.

The trainer admitted the strong front running victory surprised him, despite his good record with newcomers.

“It was a hell of a surprise.”

“She just kept running - I cant really put it down to anything.” 

“I had no expectations.”

Sadhana led and ran a smart 2:43.4 time in her 2200m win with Orange in the sulky.

The 5yr-old faces a big step up in grade when taking on a higher class of horse in race 6 today. 

Canterbury pacer Carlos Bromac will back up in the event after his impressive win at Ascot Park on Saturday. 

Thursday’s feature trot sees an exciting clash between Picketts Ridge and Wee Man Trouble.

Picketts Ridge impressed when downing his rival in his first start for the season at Winton, earlier this month.

Wee Man Trouble launched a big finish to easily hold second in the event.

Picketts Ridge had a 10m headstart in that race, but will not have that advantage this time. 

Both trotters will start from the 30m back mark in their 2400m handicap. 

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