Time Up The Hill and Corravally Star excel at Addington

By Michael Guerin

Michael Ward knows he has a big decision to make with Time Up The Hill this year.

And then he has an even bigger and more difficult decision after that.

Ward trains, and along with his family owns and bred, the lovely mare who recorded her ninth career victory when overcoming a 10m handicap in the hands of Katie Cox at Addington on Thursday night.

It continued a rich vein of form for the former age group star, having twice been placed behind Muscle Mountain lately, including in the Group 1 NZ Trotting Free-For-All in December.

She will clash with him again at Addington next week and while Ward isn’t getting carried away with her chances of beating the giant speed freak, he says the star of his three-horse stable is going as well as she can.

“She has been racing very well and we actually considered taking her up to Cambridge for that mare’s trot last week but we couldn’t get a ferry across Cook Strait.

“So she can race around here and if she is going well enough we can look at something like the NZ Trotting Champs and after that, if we can get a ferry, we would even consider the Rowe Cup (May)”

While an autumn campaign could further embellish Time Up The Hill’s already considerable broodmare appeal Ward says he and the family will decide later in the year whether to put her in foal next breeding season.

“It is a possibility but we do love taking her to the races. But yes, I’d say she will probably go in foal this year.”

That raises the question of which stallion she would go to, with Time Up The Hill richly bred by Muscle Hill out of another age group start in Majestic Time, a Hambeltonian and NZ Oaks winner who ran second in the Jewels at two.

Of course some of the most sought-after stock at the elite end of the trotting yearling sales this week were by Muscle Hill or sons like Tactical Landing, who Time Up The Hill can’t go to so Ward admits he has some thinking to do.

“We are only a small operation and to be able to compete with the bigger stables we need the best bloodlines so we will have to do some research on that.”

Time Up The Hill was the trotting star of the night but it was Corravally Star who took the pacing honours in a win that mirrored his last start all-the-way mobile mile victory.

This time it was another novelty race for punters to navigate, a 2000m standing start, and once he got that start right he led and did what Corravally Star does, just kept rolling.

His 55.4 and 27.3 sectionals in the hands of Sheree Tomlinson saw him hold out Henry Hubert and Mighty Looee for his 12th career victory and almost certainly confirmed he will be scratched from Saturday’s Ashburton Cup, which was pretty much a back up race in case he botched the start last night.

His 1:56.8 mile rate for the standing start 2000m was remarkable and once ratified he will have broken the national 2000m standing start record held by Kerri Maguire by an incredible 2.1 seconds.

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