Wild weather no dampener for veteran

By Jonny Turner

A week of wild Southland weather has done little to dampen Franco Huntington’s enthusiasm ahead of Saturday’s Ascot Park trots.

The veteran will be out to notch career win number 11 in his 162nd career start in race 2 for trainer Doug McLachlan.

Snow, hail and rain have hit the Invercargill region this week which has not helped trainers in the area prepare their horses for their assignments.

McLachlan, based at nearby Myross Bush, has been among them.

He’s had Franco Huntington tucked up in his barn this and the pacer is bursting to get back out onto the track.

“With the weather we have had he has been inside for most of the week,” McLachlan said.

“But that doesn’t worry me because my horses are inside most of the time during winter.”

“I put him out in the paddock and I had to bring him back in, he was working himself that hard running around.”

Race 2 looks well within the reach of Franco Huntington and driver John Morrison.

Punters should expect to see the familiar sight of the nine-year-old landing handy to the speed before fighting on in the home straight.

“He should go another good race, the best thing is Johnny knows him now and knows where he has got to be.”


Race 2, 12.08pm

Franco Huntington (7)

Trainer: Doug McLachlan

Driver: John Morrison

Opening fixed odds: $2.90 win & $1.30 place


Tac Mac looks another leading chance at Ascot Park on Saturday in race 7.

After shock failures in her two prior efforts, the Brent Shirley trained three-year-old produced an excellent second at Winton last weekend.

Like Franco Huntington, Tac Mac has thrived in her work this week despite Invercargill’s wet weather.

“She’s well in herself and is bucking and kicking around the place,” Shirley said.

“A bit like her owner Noddy Orr was when he rucking for Southland (rugby team) in his heyday.”

“It was a very good run last time, she had a bit of bad luck in her two starts before that.”

“I think she has improved since then and I am expecting her to go pretty good on Saturday.”

Craig Ferguson drives Tac Mac for the first time in race 7 after driving her to win in a recent workout.


Race 7, 2.33pm

Tac Mac (5)

Trainer: Brent Shirley

Driver: Craig Ferguson

Opening fixed odds: $2.90 win & $1.32 place


Lucky Galleon also looks a big threat at Saturday’s meeting in race 10.

The three-year-old ran a nice second in his debut at Ascot Park two weeks ago behind promising two-year-old Sand Wave.

Trainer Brett Gray has been pleased with the gelding since that run and is expecting another strong effort.

“He went good first up and I have been very happy with him since then,” Gray said.

“He is going to need a little bit of luck from the draw (7) but if he gets it he should go a pretty good race.”

Tristan Larsen takes the reins behind Lucky Galleon tomorrow.


Race 10, 4.22pm

Lucky Galleon (7)

Trainer: Brett Gray

Driver: Tristan Larsen

Opening fixed odds: $3.50 win & $1.45 place



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