Day At The Track

Franco Rayner resumes

04:40 PM 17 Aug 2017 NZST
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Franco Rayner and Maddison Brown.jpg
Franco Rayner
Photo Jodie Hallows

Speedy pacer Franco Rayner will resume after a three-month absence when he will start from the outside of the front line (No. 9) in the 2130m $23,000 Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

But Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown said that he is not intending to use the four-year-old’s blistering gate speed and that he would be driving the gelding conservatively.

“I’m thinking that he is forward enough to be competitive, but we won’t be hurling out of the gate,” Brown said. “We know that he’s got very high gate speed, but I just don’t think he’s fit enough at this stage of his preparation to use that and still run a race at the end.

“He is essentially a beach horse, and with the recent wintry weather we haven’t been able to work him how we would like. He’s had a lot of work, but I really don’t know where he’s at.”

Two starts ago, on May 12, Franco Rayner started from the No. 9 barrier and revealed dazzling speed to charge straight to the front before setting a fast pace and winning easily from Naughty Maravu at a 1.55.8 rate over 1730m.

Though most of his 16 wins from 45 starts have been when he has set the pace, Franco Rayner is also capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst.

The Justin Prentice-trained Natural Disaster is in top form and will have an army of supporters. He will start from the No. 7 barrier and should be prominent throughout in his bid to win for the ninth time from only 14 starts this season.

In a strong field, Sprinter, Our Jericho, Vultan Tin, Mach Time and Harry Hoo will all have many admirers. Perhaps the main opposition to Natural Disaster will come from Sprinter and Our Jericho.

Gary Elson, trainer of Sprinter, is confident the four-year-old will maintain his splendid form, even from the awkward draw of the inside of the back line.

“He was superb in defeat at the hands of Vultan Tin at his latest run (last Friday week),” Elson said. In that event Sprinter started out wide at barrier seven and settled in ninth position before running home boldly from seventh at the bell to finish second, two and a half lengths behind the flying Vultan Tin, who opened up a lead of several lengths in the middle stages.

The Ross Olivieri-trained Our Jericho will start out wide at barrier eight, but looks a strong chance after several excellent recent efforts, including two thirds behind star pacer Chicago Bull. Our Jericho has a losing sequence of 16, but is certainly capable of ending that run of outs. He has been freshened up since his good fourth behind Ideal Alice and Vultan Tin on July 21.

Ken Casellas

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