Stratford finding key to trotter
By Jonny Turner
Westland Peak has caused plenty of headaches in her time but they’ve been swapped for handshakes thanks to the trotter’s form coming solid.
The Tony Stratford trained mare was on her best behaviour when racing to victory a most comfortable victory at Wingatui yesterday for driver Blair Orange.
Orange only had to ask the five-year-old to get serious in the last 100m of race 2 with the sometimes-risky trotter having the race well in hand.
The victory came after a string of third placings, the last of which coming just two days prior at Wyndham on Saturday.
That run of a form is testament to the patient work the Stratford stable has done with the Westland Peak who has a history of rolling out of her gait at precisely the wrong time.
Stratford said it hasn’t been a case of tinkering with shoeing and gear changes as is the case with many tricky trotters.
Instead it’s been the mare herself that has decided to get her act together.
“She looks like a nice horse walking around at the start and she is racing accordingly,” Stratford said.
“I don’t think we have changed too much with her since we’ve had her to be fair.”
“She is in the cart every day, probably working on the grit now is what we have changed more than anything.”
“I used to work her on the grass all the time, maybe that has changed her mindset a bit.”
Stratford will now apply the old adage that when a trotter is in form you keep going to the races with Westland
“We will be doing that for sure, we haven’t looked past this week but more than likely she will be racing next week.”
“Even though she only beat maidens today I thought she was very impressive.”
Stratford races Westland Peak with his partner Jen Sheridan and uncle Alan Steel alongside Paul Craig.
The fortunes of another of harness racing winners at the dual code Wingatui meeting also took a turn for the good yesterday.
Issues scoring up, a gear malfunction and being knocked over after the start were some of the notes in Sweet And Sour’s form line before she broke maidens in race 3.
The mare’s bad luck looked set to continue yesterday when she was caught wide early from barrier 8.
But she put her unlucky run behind her in style with powering up the Wingatui straight to score for trainer Brad Williamson and driver Kerryn Tomlinson.
Sweet And Sour is bred and raced by Gavin Chin.