Vintage Cheddar primed & ready
By Jonny Turner
The weather is the big hurdle standing between Vintage Cheddar and a hat-trick of wins in Wednesday’s Cromwell Cup.
Southland trainer Alister Black will head across the Otago border four days later than he originally intended after having primed his open class star for a big run in the rained out Central Otago Cup at Omakau.
After shining brightly at the New Zealand Cup Carnival with two outstanding wins, a wet grass track is the last place a star like Vintage Cheddar should be racing.
But with the Cromwell track in good order considering the amount of rain that has fallen in Central Otago over the past week and weather websites forecasting a largely fine day, Cromwell racegoers are set to see the pacer in full flight.
“He was pretty well bang on the money for Omakau to be fair,” Black said.
“He had a week off after Cup Week and he has come back real good.”
Vintage Cheddar was far from ready to be competing against his open class counterparts when returning from his short spell.
The six-year-old had thrived, which prompted Black to give him three workouts to get him back to race fitness.
“He had put on a hell of a lot of weight during his week off and I got a bit of a shock,” Black said.
“So that is why he has had three workouts this time in, and because there have been no races for him, either.”
“But I thought I better get this horse trimmed down.”
Vintage Cheddar has had just one start on a grass track ahead of Wednesday’s 2600m feature.
The Junior-Free-For-All winner paced roughly in the early stages of the Gore event before he was badly held up in the straight.
Black does not expect the grass surface at Cromwell to be an issue for his 40m backmarker if it is in a reasonably dry condition.
“He has come a long way since that run at Gore.”
Should the track become heavy, the trainer said he would consider scratching his horse.
Alongside Vintage Cheddar, just one other horse won twice at the New Zealand Cup Carnival in Humble Ladd.
The trotter clashes with the Black trained Get Lucky in Wednesday’s feature trot at Cromwell.
Get Lucky is much more proven on grass tracks than his stablemate and comes into his 2600m assignment after running second to race rival Tweedledee in the Gore Trotters’ Cup.
“He is really good on grass, he loves it,” Black said.
Get Lucky has the major advantage over his main rivals, The Dominator (30m) Tweedledee (10m), of starting from the front line.
Black is not reading too much into that edge and goes into the race with full respect for his horse’s opposition
“It will be interesting for him.”
“Master Lavros and Andy Hall are scratched, so that helps.”
“But The Dominator is still in there and he is a class horse of the field now and he will be hard to roll.”
“I don’t think it would be any disgrace if Get Lucky ran second to him.”
Brad Williamson will drive both Vintage Cheddar and Get Lucky at Cromwell on Wednesday.