Big handicaps make it tough for Temporale

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

While New Zealand is arguably in the midst of its most competitive era of trotting in living memory, it has turned out that Group One winner Temporale’s biggest rival is the racing programme.

With trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett unable to find a suitable race for the nine-year-old since his last start victory at Alexandra Park in June, they have been forced to start the son of Monarchy at the Auckland track on Thursday, where he will have to overcome a mammoth 55m handicap.

It’s a fate that has been all too familiar for the highly-rated square-gaiter, and while he has overcome it previously, it remains a major concern for his trainers, particularly over the 2200m trip of the Majestic Horse Floats Handicap Trot.

“To be honest, I didn’t really want to line him up but the horse is that well he just needs a race,” Wallis said.

“It will be very hard off there; he is no sure thing, but he has had plenty of practice from those marks.”

While he hasn’t been to the races in seven weeks, the gelding hasn’t been idle, pleasing with his workout placing over 2500m at Pukekohe last week.

“He had a nice trial last week, we have just got to keep him ticking over until hopefully one day there is a race suitable for him,” Wallis said.

“We haven’t been able to find one for him.”

Loathe to travel the winner of 27 races, Wallis and Hackett have resisted planning a southern campaign with their charge and will instead continue to race him in Auckland.

“We have got no targets with him. He will just keep racing here at Auckland, we are not heading south with him,” Wallis said.

“He is nine and we don’t want to give him a break, but we don’t want to travel him much either.”

Wallis believes Temporale’s main danger on Thursday is stablemate Invictus, who will start from behind the 40m tape.

“Invictus just loves the 2200m,” she said. “He has been racing well over 2700m and I think it could be hard for Temporale to give him 15m because he can sit and sprint pretty well.

“I think he will be the hardest for Temporale to beat.”

The pair will also be joined in the race by stablemates Special Way (10m) and Kings Landing (30m).

“Kings Landing has been racing super. He might have run last, last start, but they were spread across the track and it was a good run,” Wallis said.

“I am really happy with him. He is just a nice mid-grade horse and is always competitive.

“Special Way has let me down in his last couple of starts. I thought he was working as good as any of them, and he is still working as good as any of them. He has galloped in his last two starts, for what reason I don’t know.

“If he can put his best foot forward, coming in front of those guys, he is on level terms with ability with them.”

Later on the card, stablemate Nelson’s Boy will take on a handy field in the Dunstan Speedfeed Handicap Pace (2200m), including Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m) hero Copy That.

“There was no other race for him to go in, so it was either race or stay in the barn for another two weeks,” Wallis said.

“He will just have to be driven conservatively because he is not up to that grade, but it is what it is.”

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