Day At The Track

Donnelly’s three-pronged attack

08:39 AM 05 Mar 2017 NZDT
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Arna Donnelly has three chances of repeating her Stratford Cup success of two years ago when Eldolar (4), No Way Else (7) and Hudy Haxwell (9) will line up in Sunday’s grass track feature.

The $10,000 Quinton Oakes Builders Stratford Cup for the R60 and faster pacers has attracted 10 starters.

Donnelly rated Eldolar - the horse that cost just a dollar - as the pick of her trio.

"The 10 metre handicap won't bother him in what appears to be a weaker field than Thursday's Taranaki Cup.

"He acquitted himself very well in that race and got held up at a vital stage in the straight. I was delighted with his fourth. This is easier but he will need a good run to get over the top of them," Donnelly said.

The Cambridge trainer said she probably wouldn't be driving in the race, instead offering the drives to Ky​le Marshall (Eldolar), Phil Butcher (No Way Else) and Scott Phelan (Hudy Haxwell).

"Kyle drove Eldolar the way I wanted on Thursday and is driving well. I'll save my drive for Imajollywally in the last.

"He can win race eight, but so can stablemate Zakspatrol (Phelan)," said Donnelly.

Donnelly trained and drove Ideal Success to win the 2015 Stratford Cup in3:28.2. The race record for the 2600m stand is held by the Todd Mitchell trained and driven Sound Of Thunder, who stopped the clock in 3:25 flat eight years ago.

No Way Else, who also starts on the same 10m handicap as Eldolar, won three starts ago in a R56-R73 junior drivers event at Cambridge Raceway, but his form has tapered off since then.

Like No way Else, Hudy Haxwell is having his first start at Stratford. He has missed a cheque in his last two starts but has placed on the grass previously. Up until two starts ago his form-line read 3343.

“I just like the way Eldolar is going at the moment and even though he hasn’t won a Cup this season he has gone huge, going from a maiden at the start of the season to winning four races since December,” Donnelly said.

Eldolar, No way Else and Hudy Haxwell are rated R74, R72, and R79 respectively.

The toughest for them to beat should be the Derek Balle trained and David Butcher driven Kenrick (R72), who was the third favourite in Thursday’s Taranaki Cup.

The Donnelly cause is also assisted by the fact that Taranaki Cup winner Walkinshaw won’t be lining up the Sunday’s discretionary handicap.

Past winners of the Stratford Cup have been:

2016: McRoyal (3:34.4) - Driven by Todd Mitchell and trained by Dave & Clare McGowan.

2015: Ideal Success (3:28.2) - Driven and trained by Arna Donnelly.

2014: Randalstown (3:38.3) - Driven by Phil Butcher and trained by Tim Hall.

2013: Tyler Maguire (3:33.0) - Driven by Kyle Marshall (j) and trained by David Marshall.

2012: Murphy Maguire (3:34.4) - Driven by David Butcher and trained by IanSmall

2011: Another Impact (3:33.6) - Driven by Logan Hollis and trained by Dave & Clare McGowan.

2010: Family Spirit (3:30.8) - Driven by Phil Butcher and trained by Todd Mitchell.

2009: Sound Of Thunder (3:25.0) - Driven and trained by Todd Mitchell.

2008: Scherger Rein (3:29.4) - Driven by Maurice McKendry and trained by Sean McCaffrey.

2007: Miss Abigail (3:26.2) - Driven by David Butcher and trained by Colin Butler.

2006: Southern Raider (3:31.0) - Driven by David Butcher and trained by Geoff Small.

Duane Ranger

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