Day At The Track

AG has Aussie trip on the line

11:05 AM 02 Jan 2020 NZDT
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A G’s White Socks,Harness racing
A G’s White Socks

By Jonny Turner

Interdominion star A G’s White Socks could book a ticket to Australia if he continues his form resurgence in Thursday’s Central Otago Trotting Cup.

Like many holiday makers, the Canterbury pacer has gotten out of the city and headed to the more relaxing surrounds of Central Otago for today’s popular meeting.

The Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer would have been a leading contender in Tuesday night’s Auckland Cup had he stayed north after his Interdominion campaign.

Avoiding standing start racing and the possibility of an Australian trip mean Omakau racegoers get to see A G’s White Socks in Thursday’s 2000m group 3 feature.

“The reason we brought him down was to have a go with him at Omakau and then make our mind up about him going to Australia,” Greg Hope said.

“We also didn’t really want to put the horse through standing starts again.”

“They are not his forte and we just felt we could undo things if he went in the Auckland Cup.”

The Hunter Cup at Melton would be A G’s White Socks’ main aim if he books his Australian trip with a good run on Thursday.

Reverting to mobile racing and a change of A G’s White Socks’ feeding regime saw the 6yr-old bounce back to his best form with two Interdominion heat wins before his commendable fifth in the series final.

The pacer has not started since that effort behind Ultimate Sniper.

Pleasing work since then means A G’s White Socks is fit and ready for Thursday.

“He had about five days off after the final and then he flew back down and I have been pretty pleased with him since,” Hope said.

“He has worked nice.”

Most of A G’s White Socks’ rivals’ form leading in to Thursday’s feature comes through two races.

Heisenberg beat home Jazzy Star and Nandolo when winning last week’s Ashburton Cup.

Vintage Cheddar sprinted past Franco Santino and Swamp Major to win the Wairio Cup days prior.

The Hopes have a team to follow at today’s Omakau meeting.

Luella looks a strong chance in race 11 following her third behind talented fillies Sugar Loaf and Pearl Harbour at Winton on Tuesday.

Mossdale Art was a brave mile (1609m) winner in the smart time of 1.53.7 at the same meeting.

The 4yr-old will take on a talented field in race 9.

Bev’s K One starts for the Hope stable in race 2 after producing two solid trial performances recently.  

Didjabringthebeers happy to be home

Canterbury trotter Didjabringthebeers has been back in his happy place ahead of today’s feature trot at Omakau.

The 6yr-old brings a patchy form line in to the 2000m mobile event thanks to a less than impressive Interdominion campaign.

The Monarchy squaregaiter was clearly off his game during the Alexandra Park series, producing two uncharacteristic breaks in its last two heats.

Exactly why the horse was not happy in Auckland remains a mystery to trainer John Howe.

But what is clear to the West Melton horseman is that his trotter is happy to be home.

“I am not exactly sure what went on in Auckland to be honest,” Howe said.

“I don’t think it was the right-handed way of going because he has worked really well that way down here.”

“Something wasn’t right, he just wasn’t happy up there.”

Didjabringthebeers has not started since he was pulled up on night three of the Interdominions, nearly a month ago.

Howe has no concerns about his 6yr-old’s fitness going in to today’s race with that gap between races.

“He seems to have bounced back well,” Howe said.

“I gave him a good hit out at home this week and he seems pretty right.”

The last time Didjabringthebeers faced conditions similar to today’s race – racing left handed over a sprint distance – he produced a career best effort for third behind Tough Monarch in the group 1 New Zealand Free For All at Addington.

Fellow Interdominion campaigner Pres The Belle looks one of the horses to beat in today’s feature trot.

The Robert Dunn trained trotter relished a drop in class from the Auckland series when showing brilliant gate speed to lead an win her last start at Addington.

Heavyweight Hero, who is another leading contender for today’s race, was left in Pres The Belle’s wake when six length behind her in second.

Howe also starts Nandolo in today’s Central Otago Trotting Cup.

The trainer expects the pacer to be fitter for his last start fourth in the Ashburton Cup.

Nandolo was run down by three horses rated at longer odds than him, including Central Otago Trotting Cup rival Heisenberg, in the Christmas Eve event.

Howe suspects the horse’s fitness was not quite up to the mark and he should strip in better condition on Thursday.

“He got away on me a bit, he had a really good blow after the race, he might have been a run short.”

“To my eye he had Heisenberg beaten at the top of the straight and next thing he got tired in the last 150m.”

“But, he was the first horse home off 30m.”

Nandolo and Heisenberg will start from level marks from behind the mobile on Thursday.

Howe’s day starts in race 7 when Aladdin Sane lines up after winning his first start for the season at Ashburton.

The 4yr-old will clash with highly talented Southland trotter Chinese Whisper and the consistent Only One Way. 

Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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