Day At The Track

Express triumph as Craven claims Hamilton Cup

08:03 AM 16 Jan 2019 NZDT
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Wardan Express Hamilton Cup.jpg

Trainer Matthew Craven says he certainly wasn’t “expecting” Wardan Express would win Sunday’s Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup, but he also wasn’t exactly surprised.

“I thought he’d run a good race,” he said.

“He’s been in consistent form now for a while.”

Wardan Express broke the track record for the 2660m start at Hamilton, rating 1:55.2, leading all the way under Craven’s guidance to win by 4.9m over Tough Call.

After using his gate speed to take the lead early, Wardan Express maintained a strong enough tempo throughout to keep his rivals at bay – producing 28.5, 29.3, 27.9 and 28 quarters.

“It probably looks like he’s at his best over the sprint trips when you look at it, but it was never something that I was worried about because some of his really good runs have been in good races like the Breeders Crown and the Derby over the longer trip,” Craven said.

“I’m not sure (over which distance he’d be better suited) but he may be a fraction superior over the short.”

Wardan Express’s gate speed holds him in good stead in whatever he contests, Craven said.

“The ability to keep putting himself at a spot at the front of the field certainly puts you in the race,” he said.

Winning a Hamilton Cup is almost a hometown win, said Craven, who explained Hamilton was “his other home track”.

“We trial there, I grew up going there, I have a lot owners in Hamilton, we really do treat it as our local club other than Terang,” he said.

Craven congratulated the club and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) for supporting the concept of a sprint race feature at Hamilton.

The club announced last week it would run the inaugural Glen Myles Memorial Mile on Sunday March 3.

“Since they’ve made a concentrated effort on putting plenty of water on to the track it’s much kinder to the horses and conducive to fast times,” Craven said.

“Once the water gets right in the horses travel really kindly on it and it enables them to run time.

“I think with the right support the club will see a sub-1:50 winner at some stage. Mick Turner (the trackman) does a great job.

“I’d like to see free for all races and mares races, trotters, all over the mile at Hamilton.”

Meanwhile, local footy club Hamilton Kangaroos claimed just under $320 from HRV's GoodForm Grassroots Gold program and also won the inaugural South West Charity Cup, which will raise important funds for the Maddie Riewoldt's Vision foundation. 


Trots Media - Cody Winnell

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