NZ HARNESS NEWS
Two proven Group 1 performers made welcome returns to winner’s circle on Methven’s Green Mile day on Sunday.
A G’s White Socks put a relatively disappointing Spring campaign behind him with an impressive last-to-first win in the $15,000 Pacers Mile.
The key was being back behind the mobile, according to co-trainer Greg Hope.
“I knew he was working good enough; he had just lost his confidence from a standing start,” he said, alluding a number of muffed beginnings in recent months.
“We just had things go pear-shaped.
“But he’s back on track now.”
Hope was going to consult with driver Ricky May and wife and training partner Nina before deciding on a potential trip north and tilt at the $250,000 Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve.
“I’ll talk to Ricky and see what he says and we’ll go from there.”
It was the second Green Mile win in succession for A G’s White Socks, who also went on last season, as a four-year-old, to win both the Taylor Mile and Easter Cup at Group 1 level.
Curiously, this time he ran nearly nine seconds slower than 12 months ago, the legacy of a dawdling tempo set in front by Forgotten Highway on a dead track.
The Hopes provided the quinella in the race with Mossdale Rose finishing up the markers for second and earlier, stablemate Gimmefiveminutesmore was a dominant winner in the junior drivers’ event.
One race later, the Ford and Tomlinson family continued an excellent recent run with taking out the $15,000 Trotters Mile with Amaretto Sun.
Sheree Tomlinson, fresh from her Australasian Young Drivers Championship win in Brisbane a week ago, reunited with last season’s Dominion Handicap for a strong all-the-way victory.
She surged her charge to the front off the mobile using superior gate speed and race favourite Ronald J could not peg them back from a trailing sit.
It was the second win in the race for trainer Ken Ford, who also won it in 2016 with Marcoola.
It was Amaretto Sun’s first win since that famous Dominion triumph nearly a year ago, but he had indicated such a performance was close with encouraging runs at Kaikoura, Addington and Orari recently.
Amaretto Sun is now also likely to head to Auckland, accompanying Marcoola north where there are no less than four feature trots in the next month.