Day At The Track

Canberra's leading horse hoping to hit the right note

11:50 AM 29 Jun 2016 NZST
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Modern Maestro Ash.jpg
Modern Maestro
Ashlea Brennan Photography

Modern Maestro has had a stellar start to his harness racing career. The son of Modern Art has won eleven of his fifteen career starts and with the season over in Canberra, the gelding's trainer Michael Hawke will look to target racing at Menangle in the short term.

After racing through the season at Canberra undefeated in seven starts, Modern Maestro was declared the Horse Of The Year in the nation's capital. The seven wins also helped secure Hawke's second trainers' title and Melissa Hawke her first drivers premiership.

"At Canberra they have a local premiership for the leading trainer and driver and they also have an overall leading trainer and driver," Hawke said.

"It was great to win the overall leading trainer for a second consecutive season but I was immensely proud of my daughter Melissa when she won the overall leading driver. Liss has won local premierships before but to win the overall driver's title is a great achievement and a good reward for all of her hard work."

Modern Maestro finished second in the Group 2 Carousel earlier in the season and Hawke believes it was during that series he realised he had a nice horse.

"He won nine of his first ten starts but his wins had been at Canberra, Wagga and Bathurst so there were a few question marks on the form. I think his run in the heat of the Carousel at Penrith when he led and Kept Under Wraps only picked him up in the shadows of the post proved to me that his record was legitimate.

"Off the back of that run, Modern Maestro finished second in the Carousel final behind Hez A Dude and he fought right to the line on that occasion as well."

Saturday night's assignment at Tabcorp Park Menangle will not be an easy one with several well performed runners engaged in race four. Runner up in Sunday's Group 1 4YO Breeders Challenge final Egodan has drawn the second row while Tact Hayleys Delight will start from barrier three.

"I haven't done the form yet and only glanced at the fields when they first came out but my initial thought was Darren's (Binskin) mare was well placed. Those C3 to C5 races are very strong at Menangle every week so I'll keep bringing him back until he can snare one.

"Most of the horses around Canberra go for a spell at the end of the local season but I've kept a few of mine in. I might even bring a horse like Huge Attitude to Menangle at some stage."

Despite wrapping up their respective premierships at the Canberra meeting last weekend it has been a tough week for the stable. Rookie Error died after suffering from colic last weekend.

"She was no star but she won seven races in her career and she tried her heart out every time she stepped onto the track. She was one of Melissa's favourites so she has been a little bit upset."

"Hopefully Modern Maestro can pull out a good run on Saturday night and help Liss feel a little bit better."

Greg Hayes

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