Tender Don may have just turned nine-years-old but his co-traineris certain that won’t be a barrier to success at Melton this weekend.
In fact the main stumbling block the team will be dealing with is Tender Don himself.
Having transferred to the Males’ stables in July this year, he struggled at his first few runs before switching on and proving his ability.
A placegetter behind Elegant Image and Kyvalley Blur in two of his last three, it will be a fight with himself that may determine the outcome of the Sunbury United Cricket Club Trot.
“He’s been going really well and in the smaller field on Friday night he gets his chance to notch up a win,” Males said.
“He is a very good trotter, he’s biggest problem is when he gets to the races and starts to pull and overrace. If you could get the horse that turns up at trackwork to the races then he would be a serious horse.”
Although he is arguably becoming costly for punters having not win in his past 16 starts, there is renewed vitality in his most recent runs.
Hitting the front before the turn last time he was run down only by Kyvalley Blur with the rest of the field left in his wake.
From the second row Males will be hoping that he doesn’t have to work too much mid-race.
“He’ll more than likely be saved for one run just because we’ve been teaching him to settle and we think that the longer he can settle for, the better he will go,” he said.
“In the small field you wouldn’t expect to be too far off the leaders going down the back and he really does have high speed like a pacer so he’s pretty quick.
“He has Free For All ability and he’s starting to settle a bit but you just don’t know with these old horses they can have a brain snap and go back to their old ways.”
There will also be another stable star emerging this weekend in Bellas Delight.
She will be saved for Saturday night at Bendigo however and, off the back of an encouraging trial, there are some lofty plans for the three-year-old fillies Breeders Crown winner of 2011.
“Young Zac (Phillips) drove for us and was really happy with the trial, she ran her last half in about 55 so she’s on track,” Males said.
“We’ve had a plan in the back of our minds to get her into the Kilmore Cup this year. She’s such a great stayer that it looks a great race for her so everything has been geared towards getting her into the stands and progress towards that race.
“We won’t be too disappointed if she doesn’t win Saturday night because we know she has bigger targets ahead.”
, who is returning from an end-of-season break, will take the reins on both of the stables leading chances across the two nights of racing.
by Blake Redden
Harness Racing Victoria