Storm to descend on Marlborough
By Jonny Turner
Storm Prince has returned to racing a more professional pacer this campaign and that looks set to pay more dividends at Marlborough on Friday.
The Canterbury pacer will return to the top of the South Island after producing a highly impressive win in the Nelson Winter Cup.
Storm Prince faces a similar line up to the field he comprehensively beat in his last start and trainer Paul Court can not see a reason why the horse can not produce the same result again.
“I would have to say he would have to be pretty hard to beat, really,” Court said.
“I thought he raced super [at Nelson], the bit I liked most was he ran away from them at the end.”
“Blair drove him really well and he hit the line nicely.”
Court faces the same challenge with Storm Prince that he did at the two-day Nelson meeting.
The pacer will compete in Friday’s 2300m handicap before lining up just two days later over the extreme distance of 3200m.
That means Storm Prince will need to be driven confidently, but not overly aggressive in Friday’s race.
Thankfully, Court has the man that has made driving look like an art form in the sulky behind his 4yr-old again – in Blair Orange.
“I wouldn’t like to see him have a real gut buster on the first day, but in saying that he is still capable of winning with a nice trip,” Court said.
Storm Prince not only showed off his class in his strong staying performance at Nelson, he also improved professionalism.
Combine that with the pacer obviously returning to race being in prime physical order and the Stunin Cullen pacer should be in for a very fruitful Winter.
“He was quite immature, he used to pull and hang and do all of that,” Court said.
“Now he is much more of a racehorse and hopefully he can grab another cup.”
Sociable hit the line strongly for fourth in the Nelson Winter Cup and beat Storm Prince home in the prelude, two days earlier.
That showed trainer Andrew Stuart had got the mare back to the sort of form she was capable of after she performed poorly in prior runs.
Sociable looks one of the main dangers to Storm Prince along with Southland raider Paddyproudfoot.
The Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis trained bounced back from a shock Forbury Park defeat with a good second placing behind Franco Texas in his last start at Addington.
Paddyproudfoot gets a head start on his two main rivals when starting from the front line.
Both Storm Prince and Sociable start from 10m.