Tanzania faces toughest test yet in today's Geraldine Cup

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

In 2021 Laurence Hanrahan went to the National Standardbred yearling Sales in Christchurch looking for a Rock N Roll Heaven.

He decided on Tanzania (Rock N Roll Heaven - Mashika) and duly purchased him for $30,000 for Geoff and Margaret Kelk.

"He just looked a nice type."

And he hasn't disappointed.

"He did everything nicely, Leo O'Reilly broke him in and liked him, and then we slowly progressed from there."

And right now it looks like it was pretty good shopping.

Heading into today's $25,000 Placemakers Timaru/Twizel/Oamaru Geraldine Cup, Tanzania has won two of four career starts, and has already accrued more than $16K in stakes. He won on debut on October 1 at Timaru then backed it up a fortnight later at Oamaru before a 10th against the likes of Wag Star and Jolimont at Addington on November 3.

In his last start Tanzania was second in the Tyre General Timaru Summer Cup, won by Deny Everything at big odds. He'll be a race rival again today.

"It's a lovely field and a step up from the Timaru field I think," says Hanrahan of today's race, "it's his biggest test yet."

Tanzania is a relative rookie compared to some of his rivals. Favourite Franco Indie, for instance, has won his last two and eight overall from 24 starts and over $200K in stakes while Buckskin's won 10, and Dashing Major seven.

The Ashburton-based trainer believes the start will be the key to his young pacer's chances.

"You have to be handy at the turn at Geraldine and if he is he'll put on a good show."

As for the future Hanrahan is keeping an open mind.

"I have no plans for him - just race by race."

Hanrahan will also start the talented Woodbine Rocks (two wins from 11 starts) in the Fresh Choice Geraldine Handicap Pace against a line-up that includes Pinseeker, a very impressive winner on debut at Rangiora a month ago.

The Ecolab Handicap Trot could also be a cracking race as Masterly vies to get back into form after two expensive gallops during New Zealand Cup and Show Week at Addington, with backmarkers Unico Vacanza and Andy Hall also looming as major threats for Robert and Jenna Dunn.

Today's 12 race card starts at 12.10pm.

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