Track change not an issue for Kerr
By Garrick Knight
A shift in race track just over 24 hours from race start had Mitch Kerr unphased on Saturday afternoon.
The in-form Rangiora trainer prepares promising pacer Matt Damon, who was to shoot for four wins in a gross at the first grass track meeting of the new season, at Methven on Sunday.
But after a deluge of rain overnight Friday, the decision was made by officials from the Methven Trotting Club to move the meeting.
It will now be held at Ashburton on the all-weather track, the only change being that the three mobile events would change from 2300m to 2400m.
Kerr applauded the move and says it was in the best interests of future grass track racing at Methven, which is slated to host three more race meetings before the end of the year.
“I can see where they are coming from, to be fair.
“It’s the first meeting of the season and you don’t want to wreck it for the rest of the year.
“Apparently there was a real downpour last night and with the all the work they’ve just done on the track, they don’t want to risk it.”
Matt Damon has taken all before him recently, winning three in a row, including his last two starts, at Addington.
Kerr harbors an ambition to tackle the $30,000 Show Day Futurity during Cup Week in November and Sunday’s start is geared towards that.
“It’s sort of the only race that suited him for the next month or so and he’s only racing for $1000 less than what he would at Addington.
“It’s going to be his last race before we give him a break and set him for that futurity.”
Kerr is arguably New Zealand’s most promising young trainer having prepared 30 winners from his last 100 starters, but he’s had his mettle tested by Matt Damon.
“He’s a really nice horse now but, to be fair, he took a fair bit of organising.
“He tested my patience and it took a lot of work for a good solid year.
“But we’ve sorted his manners out and he’s developed in to a real handy race horse.”
Matt Damon has a rather illustrious part-owner in New Zealand cricket star, Matt Henry.
“Matt’s a friend of mine from High School and has always been keen on the horses.
“It can be tough for him with his overseas commitments but he did manage to get on course for those last two wins.
“He’s in three with me now and I know he is having a lot of fun.”