Trotters to stay on in Australia
By Michael Guerin
Two of the north’s bravest trotters are set to cash in on the frailties of trotting big boys over the next month.
Temporale and Massive Metro have already paid for their Australian campaigns for trainer Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett with big performances at Melton over the last two weeks.
Temporale won the A$50,000 Dullard Cup in a rare group one win for Hackett’s green and white racing colours 11 days ago, while Massive Metro was a strong third in the A$250,000 Great Southern Star at Melton last Saturday.
While plenty of the Kiwis who contested that carnival are already home, both the South Auckland trotters are staying on in Australia for three more races and the final one in particular looks perfect for them.
The pair next contest the A$50,000 Knight Pistol at Melton on February 14 followed by the A$100,000 Grand Prix at the same track on February 29.
They will then head north to Menangle for the A$50,000 Trotters Mile on March 7, which is Miracle Mile night.
Already one of the hotshots of the open class trotting scene in Oscar Bonavena has returned to New Zealand, where his connections hope a break will help him strengthen up.
And while Great Southern Star winner Tornado Valley will meet the Kiwis in their two Victorian races, he can’t make the trip to Menangle.
“He is the worst traveller we have ever had,” explains driver Kate Gath.
“It is not nerves because when he gets to the track he is fine but he never stops moving in the float. He is like he is tap dancing the entire trip.
“We took him to Ballarat two weeks ago and he was in a lather by the time we got him there so he definitely couldn’t do nine hours in a float to Sydney.”
So while the Wallis-Hackett pair will be competitive in both their upcoming Victorian races, the Menangle Mile should be well down on the class of the Great Southern Star.
“There is nothing for them here and they are handling the racing so well over there it makes sense to stay,” says Wallis.
“Temporale is a old pro and he won well the first night but never got a chance getting back and wide last week while Massive Metro took a while to settle in but was far better on night two.
“So it is great to have A$200,000 worth of races for them at this time of the year.”