Day At The Track

Frenning, Kennard and O'Donoghue remain confident

09:04 AM 30 Jan 2019 NZDT
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Tiger Tara,Harness racing
Tiger Tara
Stuart McCormack photo

Tiger Tara has opened a short-priced favourite for Saturday night’s Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton after drawing gate three for the $500,000 Grand Circuit classic at tonight's MCG barrier draw.

The 2018 TAB Inter Dominion and reigning Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup championtrained by Kevin Pizzuto opened $1.50 with TAB.com.au moments after tonight’s draw, while fellow New South Wales trained pacer, Our Uncle Sam, from the Chris Frisby stable, was instantly backed into second favourite after snaring the pole draw.

The ID18 runner-up opened $7 but tumbled into $4.8 quickly.

PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup and New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer drew outside the back row in gate 11 for the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen team, while All Stars stablemate Cruz Bromac has to overcome gate nine.

Veteran Flaming Flutter for Geoff Webster gets his chance to secure more top-level prizemoney from gate two, while fellow Victorian hopefuls Buster Brady (gate four), San Carlo (gate six), Cant Refuse (gate seven) and Wrappers Delight (gate eight) will be searching for a home-state win.

Visiting New Zealand-trained Casey Classic winner Star Galleria snared gate 10, while Raukapuka Ruler has barrier five for trainer Tim Butt.  

Kima Frenning, who trains and drives Buster Brady, said she was feeling confident about her horse's chances.

Asked if the 2019 Hunter Cup had “come up too soon” Frenning replied: “I don’ think so … in the Ballarat Cup (fourth) he was so good, I probably didn’t do him a lot of favours in that race and his sectionals were super. I think he’s right up to the task here.”

Frenning explained that Buster Brady “loved the distance” (2760 metres) but wanted to make it clear how highly she rated the former Kiwi’s speed.

“He’s super quick. I shouldn’t have pulled him out when I did (at Ballarat) and he wobbled around that turn. But down the straight he was super quick and made up ground. I really think his speed is his biggest weapon," she said.

From the draw Frenning said “we’ll probably roll forward” before she added tongue in cheek, “we’ll see if Toddy (McCarthy) wants to hand up”.

“It’s not a great draw, but it’s not the worst draw either,” she explained.

“It’s ridiculous. He’s been really, really good. He’s just such a cool horse to be around and I’m so appreciative to have him as my first horse.

“It’s very exciting”

Glenys Kennard, among Thefixer’s ownership, remained positive despite drawing gate 11.

“You know what, that’s racing. It’s never a bad draw until after the race,” she said.

“It’s always nice to be here and to take part.

“What gives us confidence is he hates getting beaten, he’s got such a strong, strong will to win. He’ll definitely be giving his 120 per cent.”

Steve O’Donoghue, trainer of San Carlo, said the Hunter Cup had been his stable star's “target race” all campaign.

“He’s better than what he was this time last year, no doubt about that, he’s a bigger horse, more mature, this is the race I’ve probably set him for. All the way through, this is the one, the Hunter Cup, it means so much to me. The longer distance, he’s a stayer, that won’t worry him,” he said.

“I’m always confident. I never lose confidence in the horse or Bec’s (driver Bec Bartley) driving. 

“I’d say he’s the best I’ve ever had him. The Shepparton run was the best he’d ever done. I think I have no doubt Shepparton was his best run, gutsiest run.”

O’Donoghue said San Carlo didn’t boast “instant speed” but stressed the stayer “can build into momentum” and can “maintain that speed”.

More barrier draw analysis will take place tomorrow morning live at Tabcorp Park Melton when the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup Breakfast of Champions kicks off at 8am. 

All are welcome to attend, with RSN's Michael Felgate hosting Racing Pulse from the track live with Jason Bonnington, Dan Mielicki, Adam Hamilton and champion driver Chris Alford all featuring on the show.

 

Cody Winnell

for Trots Media

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