Ward’s filly’s time to shine

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Time Up The Hill came close to beating the boys last week, but she has her chance of adding a Classic title to her name against her own sex at Alexandra Park on Thursday.

The Muscle Hill filly came up just a nose short of beating exciting gelding Five Wise Men in the Gr.1 Northern Trotting Derby (2700m), and trainer Michael Ward thought she may have got up in the last few strides.

“From where we were, Craig Edmonds (trainer of Five Wise Men) said ‘you got me you bugger’. We were past the line and it looked like she had won, but the post came up too quick,” Ward said.

A rivalry is starting to grow between the pair, with Time Up The Hill also running second behind Five Wise Men in the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Derby (2600m) at Addington Raceway last month.

Her success also continues her family’s strong three-year-old record.

“Her mother (Majestic Time) ran second in a New Zealand (Trotting) Derby, and she has run second in the Derby and Northern (Trotting) Derby now,” Ward said. “It’s for the next generation to breed from now.

“We borrowed a mare and bred her grandmother and she won seven. Her mother won seven. She has won three so far, so she should win seven with a bit of luck.”

With her solid form line, TAB bookmakers have installed Time Up The Hill as a $1.45 favourite for the Gr.3 Haras des Trotteurs Northern Trotting Oaks (2200m) at Alexandra Park on Thursday.

While looking forward to Thursday’s test, Ward is disappointed the newly established Classic has only attracted five entrants.

“Now we have got a fillies race, none of them want to line-up,” Ward said.

“It’s a disgrace really, especially with four fillies in the maiden field. They should be in the Oaks.

“These races need to be supported.”

Although frustrated with the size of the field, Ward said he couldn’t be any happier with his filly.

“She is good as gold, she has been working well this week,” he said.

Ward has accompanied Time Up The Hill throughout her northern campaign, but he will return to Canterbury for a couple of days before returning to oversee her final preparations for the Jewels next month.

“I am going home on Saturday and coming back on Wednesday,” he said.

“We did look at going to Cambridge next week with her, but we really haven’t planned anything yet. After the Jewels she is heading out for a holiday.”

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