It may have been a wet and miserable day but Greg & Nina Hope left Mt Harding Racecourse with plenty to smile about.
The Woodend couple were successful early in the card with smart mare Helena Jet before claiming dual Green Mile victories with Glencoe VC and stable newcomer Phil’s Gift.
The former, who was driven by Gerard O’Reilly, was a comprehensive winner of the $20,000 Pacers Green Mile over Castellina Lover and stablemate Jason Rulz, despite racing parked for the majority of the journey.
“He is a very good horse who just never gets tired,” said Greg Hope. “He is a great stayer, but he also has his fair share of speed, so I think he has a very big future,” he added.
The lightly raced six-year-old son of Washington VC will now target the Ashburton Cup on Boxing Day before tackling the Northern Southland and Invercargill Cup.
“The two mile standing starts should really suit him, so all of those races will be right up his alley,” he enthused.
Hope was also happy enough with Jason Rulz performance in finishing third.
“Being left three wide in the Cup really hurt him and he is just taking a while to come back to it. He looks like he is back on the up now though. There isn’t a lot between him and Glencoe VC.”
Phil’s Gift then topped off a great day for the Hopes by winning the trotters version of the Green Mile.
“We have only had him a week but he is a lovely horse with really high speed,” said Hope. “We took him home after the Geraldine races last week and he was in terrific order. He had a couple of runs on the beach during the week and I think that sharpened him up for today,” he added.
“Murray Tapper who formerly trained the horse is cutting down so we were lucky enough to get our hands on him. Murray has done a superb job with him. He is probably the most sensible and well mannered Sundon I have ever had anything to do with,” he concluded.
By Mitchell Robertson