Wobelee to bounce back
By Adam Hamilton
A shock first-up defeat has only fuelled Chris Alford’s desire to not only tackle the Harness Jewels, but win it with his superstar young trotter Wobelee.
Wobelee’s 12-race winning streak came to an end when he found the lead early, but could not hold-off the winning sprint lane burst of former Kiwi trotter Scallywag Sam at Kilmore last Friday night.
It wasn’t the lead-up fans expected going to Sydney for Saturday night’s $40,000 Group 1 NSW Trotters’ Derby at Menangle.
“We’re confident he’ll be right this week. We’d been a bit behind with him going into Kilmore and he needed the run. It’ll bring him along nicely for Menangle,” Alford said.
Wobelee is the Aussie TAB’s $1.80 favourite from gate six against a field lacking any real star power at Menangle.
“There’s a group of locals, who don’t usually measure up, and Wobelee has had the measure of the other Victorians headed by One Muscle Hill,” Alford said.
Speculation emerged after Wobelee’s first-up defeat that the Jewels trip could be in jeopardy, but Alford quickly dismissed it.
“Nothing has changed. He’s going across. We’ve got everything in place,” Alford said.
“He’s got the race in Sydney this week, comes home and then the plan goes to Auckland the Thursday before the Jewels.”
Alford’s commitment with Wobelee at Menangle means he will again miss driving one of his favourites, champion old-timer Lennytheshark, at Cranbourne on Saturday night.
Lennytheshark returned from a break with an epic second after doing all the work behind much-improved stablemate Im The Boss in the Shepparton Cup on April 28.
David Aiken drove him at Shepparton and is expected to take the reins again from gate seven against a moderate bunch at Cranbourne.
The race is sure to help shape Aiken’s mind around a possible Sydney trip for next month’s Len Smith Mile and even a Queensland Winter Carnival raid.