Give The Wink might earn himself a trip to the big time with a little help from his rivals at Cambridge tonight.
The talented lower-grade pacer needs to please trainer Geoff Small in the main handicap tonight to be given a shot at the $50,000 Sales Series Pace at Kaikoura on November 4, a trip that could extend into support races at the New Zealand Cup meeting a week later.
Most importantly he needs to handle his first ever standing start and Small believes that is where Give The Wink’s rivals may actually help.
“The first couple of times we gave him barrier practice by himself he was a bit scared of the tape and didn’t really know what was going on,” admits Small.
“But when we have tried it with other horses alongside he has been heaps better.
“So I think having other horses there will help and even if he does miss it slightly I’d be surprised if he galloped, he would just be more likely to be slow.” Give The Wink pulled too hard when beaten into third in a much stronger field at Alexandra Park last Friday but anything like his best would see him win tonight, even from the tricky inside barrier on the 10m.
He is likely to be accompanied south by Jarcullembra, who continues his New Zealand Cup preparation at Alexandra Park tomorrow night.
He caught the eye storming into second behind Besotted last Friday and should improve greatly with that.
“I am happy with him and it is good to get a second lead-up run up here,” says Small.
“So at this stage the NZ Cup is still the aim and if he races well on Friday then he will probably go to the Kaikoura Cup because the timing works better than the Flying Stakes at Ashburton.”
Jarcullembra still officially sits 17th in the NZ Cup rankings but with two near certain withdrawals ranked inside him he is as good as in the Cup field today, with others needing to earn their way past him.
Meanwhile, local Mista Mara should win race four tonight to guarantee his trip to Kaikoura for the Sales race as well.
By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)