Wellington Cup target for Port Delight

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Pukekohe trainer Clare McGowan will make the long trek down to Tauherenikau with a couple of her stable runners for the track’s annual dual code meeting on Saturday.

The well-respected equine physiotherapist has been rushed off her feet of late, and co-trainer and husband David McGowan said she is well overdue for a trip away.

“Clare is flat out all the time with her physio work,” he said. “She is out of the door first thing in the morning and isn’t back until 8pm.

“She will head down on Friday with a couple of horses and one of the boys. We have a few kids who help us out, so they will do paper, scissors, rock to see who goes.”

The trip was instigated by Port Delight’s co-owner Simon Holmes, who wanted to line-up his pride and joy in the Grant Plumbing Wellington Cup Mobile Pace (2000m).

“Simon, the owner, loves that horse to bits and he wanted her to start in the Wellington Cup,” McGowan said.

The eight-year-old mare has been in consistent form, placing in three of her last five starts, and winning two starts back.

The daughter of Bettor’s Delight finished eighth at Cambridge Raceway on Christmas Eve, but McGowan said she wasn’t given any favours with her outside barrier.

“She didn’t back-up that well last start. They went really quick off the front and you can’t make ground,” McGowan said.

While slightly disappointed with her last start result, McGowan said he was pleased with the way she was going prior to that run.

“She has been going really well,” he said. “She tries really hard and is very genuine. She is a wee honey to work with. She is not the most talented horse in the world, but she has won eight races, so she has done well.”

Port Delight has drawn two for the Wellington Cup and McGowan said the grass track will ideally suit the mare, who has won three of her five starts on the surface, and placed in another.

“We are pleased with drawing two, she has got nice gate speed and she loves the grass, so hopefully we can lead,” McGowan said.

“She doesn’t like anything going past her when she is in front.”

Port Delight will be joined on the eight-hour float trip south by stablemate Gypsy, who will be looking to find some form in the Larnoch Poll Dorset Mobile Pace (2000m).

“Gypsy has had no luck,” McGowan said. “She is not the most talented either, but even though she had a really hard run last start she still went okay. She is out there doing the work and hadn’t had a run for six weeks.

“We will see what she does on the grass.

“It will be nice to see her in the trail, or three-back, just to see what we have got. We don’t know at the moment because we haven’t had any racing luck.

“We will find out and then they can go to Otaki.”

While the McGowans currently have a small racing team, that is likely to change in the near future, with McGowan excited about a number of young trotters in his care.

“We have got about 18 trotters in work,” he said. “I am really excited about these Love You’s, Sebastian K’s, and Orlando Vici’s.

“We have got a lot of really nice trotters coming up. They are all two and three-year-olds who are about to hit their straps.”

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