Icy Earl takes on Trotting Championship

11:44 PM 30 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Get well Chris Lang!
Chris Lang - trainer of I See Icy Earl

Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night draws ever closer and with it brings a plethora of trots action to suit every enthusiast.

Three trot races are on the card, and, as is customary, trotting royalty in the form of the Chris Lang stables is well represented.

The Group 1 Chiko Australasian Trotting Championship has developed into a fascinating race in the past couple of weeks with boom Dean Braun colt Blitzthemcalder having his colours lowered by a short-half-head in the first heat of the race at Ballarat by the Chris Lang trained I See Icy Earl.

“That was arguably the best run of his career so far; we were really happy with him.” Lang said.

“The distance (of Saturday night’s race – 2760m) really suits him.  He couldn’t be drawn better; he’s not that quick off the gates.”

Regular driver Greg Sugars will again take the reins.

When queried about why Lang no longer drives the horse, he produces a surprisingly generous response.

“Greg drove him when I was sick and knocked back a lot of other drives for him so I think it’s only fair that he keeps the drive now,” he said.

Despite I See Icy Earl’s current excellent form, Chris sees the David Aiken trained My High Expectations as the horse to beat.

He’s in a better position to know than most; My High Expectations faced the Lang trained Kyvalley Blur in the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile (Group 2) at Bendigo recently with the two American bred trotters fighting out a thrilling finish in which the former prevailed by a neck.

The lightly raced Kyvalley Blur will sidestep the Trotting Championship in favour of the Glenferrie Farm Trotters Cup (Group 3) over 2240m from a mobile start.

“I just didn’t want to start him two weeks in a row over that distance,” the Nagambie-based trainer explains.

“He’s only young really, and he’s bred to Northern Hemisphere time so he’s younger still. We’re saving him for the Great Southern Star (at Melton on March 22nd).”

Lang goes on to say that Kyvalley Blur will first travel to Tabcorp Park Menangle to compete in the Chambers Challenge trotting event to be held on Inter Dominion Day on March 2.

Taking her place in the same event is three time Group One winning mare Shes An Image, who is first up from August 2013 and will “need the run” according to her trainer, but perhaps her class and the good draw will see her run into a place.

Shes An Image will instead be set for the Breed For Speed Gold Series Final over 1720m on Great Southern Star day.

Rounding out the quartet of Lang runners for the day will be the lightly raced Pegasus Spur mare Maori Time.

“She’s a big filly so we’ve taken our time with her but she’s above average.  I think she’s a winning chance even though this is a step up in class for her.”

And when a superstar trotting trainer like Chris Lang is talking about trotting horses in trotting races, it pays to sit up and take notice.

by Lucy McCormick (Harness Racing AU)

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