Day At The Track

Franco Nelson on target for Hunter Cup

02:14 PM 24 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Franco Nelson - Pictured winning the Pelorus Classic

After an impressive patch of form of late, class four-year-old Franco Nelson is set to be thrust into harness racing's bigtime. A stunning last start victor in the Group 2 Pelorus Classic, Franco Nelson is racing in career best form and deserves his shot at harness racing's heavyweights. "We've talked with the McKay's and they are very keen to press forward with this plan," said John today.

"Racing is a funny game and you never know what the future holds. We feel he deserves his shot at the big guns." Aside from an unlucky run at Alexandra Park on NewYear's Eve, the horse has won 3 of his last 4 starts in convincing fashion. His tendency to "knock off" at the end of his racing looks to be a thing of the past.  Safely through the Hunter Cup, the next target for the Christian Cullen entire will be the supplementary heat of the Interdominions, to be run at Menangle on 15 February. Plans from there will be subject to the horse's performance, but the Interdominion Grand Final would be a dream result. Alternatively, plans will turn to the Chariots Of Fire in which the horse is a guaranteed qualifier after his win in the Pelorus.

For trainer Robert, Australian campaigns are a case of "been there and done that." However, for his right-hand man and stable driver John, the Hunter Cup drive will be his first drive in Australia, let alone in a Group One. Considering the run of form he is enjoying in the cart, John is hardly likely to be overawed by such an assignment.

Meanwhile stablemate Elios has come through his northern campaign in good fettle. "Yeah we're really stoked with him," said John. He'll run at Addington on February 15, then head to Australia after that. There is a race for him at Menangle on the 22nd and this will be his final hitout before the Chariots Of Fire to be run on Interdom Grand Final Day, Sunday March 2.   

By Mike Drury (Courtesy of ROBERT DUNN RACING)

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