Westport treble for House
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Michael House is hoping his stable can continue on the West Coast as they started, with the Prebbleton trainer bagging a winning treble on the first day of the popular circuit at Westport on Saturday.
Maranatha Atlas and The Black Shadow were victorious in the undercard, while Kruizr took out the feature race, the Pulse Energy Westport Cup (3200m).
House was pleased with the half-length victory and he is hoping he can repeat the performance in the Reefton Cup (3200m) on Wednesday.
“It was fantastic,” House said. “The horse has been coming into form. Six weeks ago we made a bit of a plan of how we would do it.
“My team at home have been really diligent. We gelded him about nine months ago and he got so big and heavy. Instead of working him harder we started decreasing his feed, and over a bit of time we got him back to where he should be.”
House was also pleased with the winning performances of Maranatha Atlas and The Black Shadow earlier on the card.
“Maranatha Atlas is a little indifferent when he goes to the races, but he brought his A-game on Saturday, which everyone knows he is capable of,” he said.
“I have only had The Black Shadow for a couple of weeks. He put in some bad steps, but he has certainly got a massive motor. He is untapped.
“But he has lost quite regularly in the past, so we will take things cautiously with him and see how he takes the rise in grade.”
Both Maranatha Atlas and The Black Shadow will back-up at Westport on Monday, in the New World Handicap Trot (2600m) and Valspar ‘Change Made Easy’ Pace (2000m) respectively.
“Maranatha Atlas will be hard pressed in his next few starts now that he is up a grade, but he will potentially head up to the Central Districts or Cambridge area,” House said.
“The Black Shadow is a pretty good standing start horse and I thought I would be kind to him and put him in a mile and a quarter stand.
“But he has drawn the second row (16) and it could be mission impossible at Westport from there. You have got to be three and four-wide to get around them.
“The race might not work out for him on Monday.”
House will have another strong hand on the second day at Westport and has highlighted first-day placegetter Boilover as one of his stable’s biggest hopes in the Bernie Stewart Memorial Pace (2000m).