Wiley veteran just doesn’t like winning
By Garrick Knight
Just because he’s facing a significant drop in grade, doesn’t mean Saint Michel is any more of a winning chance at Alexandra Park tonight.
That’s the belief of his Kumeu trainer, Tim Vince, who is convinced the veteran trotter just isn’t interested in winning races.
“He’s a dear old fella but he’s just one of those horses. I reckon he's won one race in the last three years, and it was a horrible field.
“If you put him in a maiden or in a rating 64, he’s going to run the same race.
“He’s developed really good manners in his advancing years and that always means he’s going to be there or thereabouts.”
Two starts ago, on the first night of the Inter Dominion carnival, he placed third behind two high quality mares in Fanny Hill and Tickle Me Pink.
Tonight he meets a far easier field and has the ideal draw to do no work, on the inside of the front line.
Vince expects another placing, though warns the horse might not quite be at his peak.
“I’m not certain he’s as sharp as he was two or three weeks ago.
“We’ve given him a light week – he might have jogged eight laps twice this week – and hopefully that’s kept him happy and up to the mark.
“He hardly ever goes to the track, we usually swim him.”
New Zealand’s all-time leading driver, Tony Herlihy, takes the drive, and bookies have a $4 second favourite.
“We’re scraping the barrel there,” Vince joked.
“No one else was available so I went to the bottom of the list.”
Monkey Selfie is the best in the field on ability and will be the hardest to beat, though the Cambridge mare has had her manners elude her in recent racing.
Vince points to Saint Michel as the best of his five on the night.
He has three horses – Mister Slick, Vespa and M T Pockets – in the same race and they’ve drawn the three outside barriers.
“The intention is for Mister Slick to go forward. He was terrible last time because I backed him up too soon.
“Vespa is a tradesman and a good horse, but won’t be driven urgently.
“And M T Pockets probably wasn’t driven the best last week but is on the way back u from a setback; he had something stuck in his foot for six weeks.”
Rounding out the team is Akarana Prince, who resumes after one trial in a very strong field.
“He’s not the worst and is going to be alright, but it’s a difficult race for him after only one trial.”
Vince just sold Simon to Australian interests and Mister Slick could well be headed the same way soon.
“Simon has gone to South Australia and after his next win I’ll be sending Mister Slick to Darren McCall in Sydney.”