Champion trotter I Can Doosit has moved closer to the greatest winning streak in New Zealand racing history - without even leaving his Rolleston harness racing stable.
The 2011-2012 New Zealand Harness Horse-of-the-Year sits on 17 consecutive wins as he heads to Auckland this week, with a possible four-race northern campaign planned over the next month. If he can clean-sweep those races he will head to Australia on 21 wins, only three behind's record for consecutive victories by a New Zealand horse.
That number of 24 is also the Australasian record for wins by a trotter, held by the Australian legend Maori's Idol.
Already this season I Can Doosit (by) has been able to give the next best trotters in New Zealand a 20m start and a beating and the only trotter who looks within two lengths of him in most races is comeback hero Stig.
But his trainer Paul Nairn has confirmed he is giving up chasing I Can Doosit for now. And not only does that mean Stig won't clash with I Can Doosit again until at least March or maybe even April, but either will his speedster stablemate Dr Hook. Nairn's pair are having a 10-day spell which means they won't be coming north and are unlikely to be sent to Australia for the rich features late in the summer.
"Partly it is because of I Can Doosit, because it is hard to travel when you may only be running for second, even if that is good money," says Nairn.
"But I think 10 days off for Stig is the best thing for him and I will keep him and Dr Hook together.
"So they can be aimed as some of the trots down here and the Rowe Cup in May might be their biggest target."
The Nairn pair, with Dr Hook's speed and Stig's stamina, are two of the few horses to trouble I Can Doosit in the last two years. With them out of the picture, Otago flying The Fiery Ginga looms as his biggest danger because of his relentless front running style.
But he has never really looked like beating I Can Doosit and if anything tends to set races up for the champ.
Aiding I Can Doosit further is the fact Cambridge star Sovereignty is injured and will miss the next month while Raydon raced well below his best at the Cup meeting.
With almost all his remaining races this season being either mobile stars or free-for-alls, I Can Doosit could start every major trot for the next six months odds-on, so the record is very much a reality.
The current leader board for consecutive wins is:
2nd - Lyell Creek (20).
3rd - Take A Moment (18).
4th= I Can Doosit and(17).
6th - Noodlum (15).
10th - ll Vicolo (12).
SIR LINCOLN STILL ON TARGET FOR VICTORIA CUP
Meanwhile, Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln is still on target for a possible Victoria Cup campaign following a workout win at Alexandra Park on Saturday.
The multiple group-one winner missed Cup week in Christchurch because of a virus but looks to be bouncing back. The A$400,000 Cup is at Melton in December 15 and is developing into one of the races of the season after stunning recent wins by favoured contenders I'm Themightyquinn, Bitobliss and Gold Ace.
Add to them warhorses like Smoken Up, Washakie and Mah Sish and a rejuvenated Sushi Sushi and the great race hardly loses any impact through the loss of Terror To Love, who will be allowed to miss it.
by Michael GUERIN (Courtesy of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD)
I Can Doosit winning the 2012 Dominion Trot: