The better judgement of Cran Dalgety tells him that missing Sunday’s Marlborough Winter Cup with Major Bubbles will pay dividends down the track.
And if the West Melton horseman has been taught anything since the exciting three-year-old pacer arrived on his property for his first preparation it’s that patience is always going to be his best friend.
The son of Art Major extended his career record to six wins from seven starts with a tradesman like effort in today’s Cup Prelude for Dexter Dunn and would have started a dominant favourite had he started on Sunday.
While tempted to take on the challenge – Dalgety knows he’s lucky to be where he is with the well-bred pacer so isn’t too keen to ask him for too much, too early.
“It sounds funny now, but he was the worst yearling of the lot that year,’’ he said.
“We couldn’t get him to pace, in fact we couldn’t get him to do much.
“I think it took three preps before he actually showed anything.’’
Incidentally Dalgety has also trained two other horses out of the dam of Major Bubbles – Miss Bubbles and both were also horses who developed over time.
“Mac Bubbles didn’t impress us a lot early on but got better each time she raced and Frizzante was a bit the same.’’
Those frustrating days are now mere memories as Major Bubbles continues to work his way through the grades for owners John and Jenny Grainger, Chrissie Dalgety and David and Kathy Rankin.
Dalgety will instead turn his focus toward Addington Raceway and a shot at the Winter Super Series which was announced during the week.
“He could have lined up, but I think I had two very good reasons to take him out.
“The first is that we will have Fifth Edition in the race and it is a bit tough to ask this guy to take on an older horse like him when he is so in the zone at the moment.
“The second reason is that if he was to have a really hard two miles it could easily knock him and put him right back.
“I think he could go a wee way so I’m in favour of not asking him for too much at this stage.’’
Dalgety has enjoyed three wins in the Winter Cup and two of them have come from three-year-olds.
Bettor’s Strike, who went on to run a brilliant second in a New Zealand Trotting Cup, set a New Zealand record when he was victorious there in 2008 – while even further back in the annals Scorching produced the same result when he won in 2003.
Bettor’s Strike’s record for a three-year-old over 3200 metres was later overtaken by stable mate Mighty Flying Mac when he won over the ultimate distance at Ashburton last season.
The third win came from About Ambition in 2010.
And in Fifth Edition this year, Dalgety has a good chance to add to the list.
“He’s flying at the moment and will relish the distance and track.’’
A winner of four of his last seven starts, Fifth Edition was victorious in the Nelson Winter Cup a fortnight ago.
By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)