Whittaker hoping to toast maiden win

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Trainer Jeff Whittaker is hoping he will be popping open some bubbly at Addington Raceway after Moet Shard competes in the Lather Up Standing At Woodlands Stud NZ Mobile Pace (1980m) on Sunday.

The Bettor’s Delight filly will be having her third start and has impressed in both of her previous outings, including third last start over 1980m at Addington Raceway.

“She has come through her first two races well and she is starting to learn a little bit more what it is all about,” Whittaker said.

“I was happy with her last run. She did a bit of work from the 800m and still found the line. She only just missed out on second and the horse who ran second came off her back and just beat her.”

Whittaker’s biggest concern heading into Sunday is her outside draw in the nine-horse field.

“Drawing the outside of the gate is going to make it a bit tough. We will likely have to go back at the start and go from there,” he said.

“There are a couple of nice horses in there that have got some form and are due to win one, and they have got better draws, so I think it will just come down to the run.”

Whittaker said Moet Shard has improved with every run, but he expects her to get a lot better with time.

“She is learning every time she goes out. She is just getting better and better,” he said.

“The goal is to win one, maybe two, as a three-year-old, so we have got until January to do that.

“We will then give her a freshen-up and we can start concentrating more when she is four and five.

“At this stage, we are happy with what she is doing.”

The daughter of Group One performer Pemberton Shard was the equal sale topper at New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s 2020 National Yearling Sale when purchased by Graham McClintock out of Shard Farm’s draft for $280,000.

“She is still a wee way off where we want her to be. She is starting to get there with her work, but I think just physically and mentally she has got to get a little bit stronger and that will come with 12 months of racing,” Whittaker said.

“Her mother got better when she was four, five and six. The older she got, the better she got.

“I think the breed does get better as they get older.”

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