Wallis hoping for belated birthday gift
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Michelle Wallis celebrated her birthday on Tuesday with a victory at Cambridge Raceway with Sunny Petite, but she is hoping for a belated present on New Year’s Eve when Temporale makes his northern return.
The Group One-winning trotter’s southern campaign was cut short in October after becoming ill following the Group Three Ashburton Flying Mile (1609m), but he has recuperated well in the lead-up to the Group One Sims Pacific Metals 2020 National Trot (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Thursday.
“He didn’t trot any good at Ashburton and then he got a bit crook, he got a bit colic and then he just didn’t come right after it,” said Wallis, who trains in partnership with Bernie Hackett.
“We abandoned the trip and brought him home and just concentrated on getting him ready for this week.”
While pleased with his progress, Wallis said Temporale will have his work cut out against his race fit rivals on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, there were no trials last week to get a trial into him, so we have just had to work him at home,” she said.
“He is as forward as we can get him, but he is not race hardened like those other ones.
“If he was dead right and had had a bit of racing he would be right up towards them, but we will be going into it a little bit short.
“We will be hoping for a little bit of luck to go our way. If one of them had bad luck he shouldn’t be far away.”
TAB bookmakers have installed the eight-year-old gelding as a $41 fourth-favourite behind Sundees Son ($1.85), Bolt For Brilliance ($2.60), and Majestic Man ($5).
All going to plan, Temporale will head to Cambridge Raceway on January 8 to contest the Group Three Cambridge Flying Stakes (1700m).
“If he goes through tomorrow’s run well, we will go to Cambridge on the 8th and we will assess things from there,” Wallis said.
Wallis is also looking forward to the undercard on the premier night at Auckland on Thursday.
The evening will kick-off with Emma Frost, Special Way, and Mufasa Metro in the John Muirhead – Going Fishing Trot (2700m).
"Emma Frost is a lovely trotter who generally trots all the way and puts herself in the race,” Wallis said.
“Special Way is a little bit inexperienced, the same with Mufasa Metro. But Mufasa Metro is probably the best of the three of them. He has had one start for one win, and he is a lovely horse in the making.
“But on Thursday, Emma Frost is probably the best chance.”
Wallis will also line-up Rain Mist and Muscle, and Kings Landing in the Jacobsen Headstones Handicap Trot (2700m).
“Rain Mist And Muscle has just grown another leg lately,” Wallis said. “She has stepped up and has been trotting really well. Todd (Mitchell, driver) had the choice and he opted to stick with her. She has got to be a chance in that race.
“King’s Landing is not quite up to those guys in the National and he is handicapped out of it again on 35m.
“We put Mark (Purdon) on him. He knows him and has trained him, so hopefully he can work some magic with him.”
The anomaly in the predominantly trotting Hackett-Wallis barn, pacer Blitzembye, will also head to Alexandra Park to take his place in the Lincoln Farms Mobile Pace (2200m).
“He has got a good draw (4), so hopefully he can use it,” Wallis said. “He has got a bit of gate speed and he loves being handy on the pace.”