Southland Jewels hopefuls enjoy contrasting fortunes
By Jonny Turner
The Harness Jewels hopes of Southland pacers Robyns Playboy and Rockabilly Blues took contrasting turns after the feature pace at Invercargill on Saturday.
Both horses impressed in their final hit-outs before next weekend’s signature race day, when Robyns Playboy held out Rockabilly Blues to win the 2200m event by half a length.
Immediately after the race, Rockabilly Blues’ Jewels campaign was put in doubt when she was kicked by another horse when leaving the track.
The incident left the John and Katrina Price trained mare with a laceration to her near-side front leg.
Rockabilly Blues received veterinary treatment for the injury and is now in a race against time for it to heal sufficiently to allow her to start at the Harness Jewels.
The pacer will need to pass a veterinary inspection before clashing with Elle Mac in the 4yr-old mares final on Saturday.
Robyns Playboy put a similar incident behind him when he took out the event.
The Ross Wilson trained three-year-old sustained a swollen right leg after he was kicked by another horse, recently.
The incident meant Robyns Playboy missed work leading in to Saturday’s race.
That meant Wilson wanted to see the Shadow Play pacer have a solid hit-out to be primed for the Harness Jewels.
“He needed this run. He missed a run last week, so we wanted him to have a good run and it worked out really good,” the trainer said.
Wilson instructed driver Craig Ferguson not to be unlucky in Saturday’s race.
Robyns Playboy galloped out of contention in his last start, when jostling for a position.
Wilson said he did not want stewards to have any questions over the horse’s manners ahead of the Jewels.
Ferguson took bad luck out of play, when he worked Robyns Playboy to the front with a lap to run.
Though the 3yr-old has enjoyed excellent success when leading, including setting a track record, Wilson said the horse was unlikely to lead in the Harness Jewels , despite being handed barrier 2 at the Harness Jewels.
“I don’t think he has the gate speed to get across Heisenberg, he really gets out.”
“I would rather see him just taking the shortcuts, I actually think he is a better horse saved for one run.”
Mighty Flying Art, who will also contest the 3yr-old colts and geldings final at the Jewels, finished third behind Robyns Playboy on Saturday.
The Murray Brown trained 3yr-old put in a fair Harness Jewels trial when battling in to fourth placing after trailing Robyns Playboy.
Wee Man Trouble will take winning form to next weekend’s feature raceday after winning on Saturday.
The Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis trained 4yr-old took out the feature trot at the Ascot Park meeting, by more than three lengths.
The performance was an excellent Harness Jewels trial, but it came with a minor blemish.
The trotter galloped for around 100m with two laps to run and lost about eight lengths in the process.
Wee Man Trouble impressed when catching the field, before scoring easily.
Like Robyns Playboy, the 4yr-old will start from barrier 2 at the Harness Jewels.