Day At The Track

Kheiron returns to life in the fast lane

04:26 PM 28 May 2020 NZST
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Kheiron,Harness racing
Kheiron
Stuart McCormick photo

After a mis-firing tilt at the big time and a long road back the signs are good that things are again on track for Peter Lane’s much-loved trotter.

Kheiron fronts tonight’s super-competitive open class trot well placed to leave a big impression and build on the form that saw him dial up successive wins in April.

The victories were something of a drought-breaker for his trainer and driver Lane, having been his first wins in a sulky since 2014, while for Kheiron they broke a 25-race winless streak that stretched back to his 2018 Breeders Crown triumph.

After the Group 2 win Kheiron was tipped out for a spell that brought him to the eve of the 2018 Inter Dominion, where he ran 12th, ninth and sixth in his three heats.

“I think in hindsight he went in way underdone (to the Inter Dominion), which was a mistake and I wouldn’t do that again,” Lane said.

“He had a lengthy campaign as a four-year-old and I was probably pleased just to race in the Inter Dominion. You always find the step up to open age a bit daunting, and to suddenly be against all these good horses jogging around in 57-second halves was an eye-opener for him.”

He raced until March, placing four times including a narrow two-metre loss to Tornado Valley in The Knight Pistol, before Lane “tipped him out and it was the best thing I could have done”.

“He actually grew as a five-year-old, but even when he came back he was still a bit out of sorts.”

Three races in winter without success prompted another spell, and then he returned again to race from December last year, never finishing better than fifth in 10 starts before victories at Kilmore on April 3 and again on April 24.  

“Only a couple of months ago he started to get better,” Lane said. “Coming into restricted racing gave him the chance to find form. His two wins were quite impressive.”

While his most recent performance against similar caliber to tonight’s trot was an “ordinary” sixth, Lane is confident he understands what went wrong and, going on Kheiron’s May 19 trial, the Majestic Son six-year-old is ready to give something closer to his best.

“I am very happy with him. He run a half in 58 at Kilmore in his trial, which was very good considering I didn’t touch him,” Lane said.

It certainly wasn’t missed by Craig Rail, who in his Trial File remarked “Kheiron began brilliantly and was able to storm to the lead in the early stages. He set up a reasonable tempo and was able to dominate his rivals, winning comfortably.”

It’s renewed optimism ahead of tonight’s Aldebaran Park Trot, where he will confront a quality field.

“He’s racing better, but coming up against the likes of Sundons Courage and Big Jack Hammer is going to be tough,” Lane said.

“I have no doubt he will perform at his best, but whether it will be good enough to beat Sundons Courage and those types of horses is another question.”

He expects there will be plenty of pepper early and, from gate four, that Kheiron will be right among the action.

“I will try and find the lead and expect he will run a good race,” Lane said. “It will be a fairly aggressive race. Brian (Gath) attacks, Brad Angove will probably be forward (on Sundons Courage), Chris (Svanosio) can come out quickly on (Anywhere) Hugo and I will definitely be looking for the front.”

It could well be an instructive race for Lane as he plots Kheiron’s future path and decides whether in the long-term he’s best suited to box on with the big boys and girls at Tabcorp Park, or to bide his time and look for opportunities to strike against the next tier of Victorian trotting.

Regardless, the trotter who’s already tipped in more than $200,000 in stakes holds a dear place in the Kilmore family’s hearts.

“There are more highs than lows when you have a nice horse in your stable, and he is one of the best horse we’ve had,” Lane said.

“You get very close to them. He was born the backyard, I see him more than I ever see my kids. He is very much part of the family. It is something special to be able to have a horse who you rear and race and win a couple of races with.”

And when it comes time to hang up the horseshoes there’s a special place awaiting Kheiron alongside another family favourite.

“He’ll retire to live with Eisenhower and they’ll be our horses forever. We visit Eisenhower twice a day where he stands with our broodmares and foals.”

TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK:

Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong.

Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.


The good oil from the Vic trials circuit

BLACKBOOKER: Stawell, R2 N2, Bye Line
Raced without cover early before running to the lead at the 1700m when she blitzed her rivals for a very impressive win. REPORT & REPLAY
BLACKBOOKER: Stawell, R2 N7, Azterian
May 19: Appeared to perform better when coming from off the speed a week earlier but she did show good gate speed and there was nothing wrong with her third placed effort as she set up a reasonable tempo. REPORT & REPLAY
May 5: Was an eye-catching trial performance and appears to have ability. She raced without cover early, dropped back to be sixth on the markers and finished strongly out wide on the track. REPORT & REPLAY
BLACKBOOKER: Stawell, R2 N8, Treacherous Rock
Was a very impressive winner after he gained a nice run on the markers (4th early then 3rd), moved away from the inside on the turn and jogged down the straight to pick up his rivals easily. REPORT & REPLAY

 

HRV - Michael Howard

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