Day At The Track

Lang and Captain Joy like Alexandra Park

07:31 AM 03 May 2010 NZST
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Captain Joy is a tad fractious for
Captain Joy is a tad fractious for - Gavin Lang in the score-up to last week's $100k Taylor Mile.
Duane Ranger photo

Gavin Lang believes Alexandra Park and its right-handed way of racing is good for harness racing. He believed top horses like Captain Joy had no problem racing that way around, while many trainers simply preferred not to venture away from the left-handed way around because of a fear their horse won't cope.

"I like it. Back home we have 1400m tracks and 800m tracks. I think harness racing would become boring and mundane if we raced on the same type of tracks all the time. I've raced at Alexandra Park before and I enjoy something different," Lang told Harnesslink from Auckland tonight (Monday May 3).

The champion Victorian driver, who has remained in New Zealand, said apart from the score-up at the start, Captain Joy, had no problems with Alexandra Park and its bends.

"He cornered well and he will be much better for the experience. He would have learnt a lot last week. However you could tell it was his first time on the track. In the score-up he was saying to me: ‘what's going on'? But once he was up and racing there were no problems at all," Lang said.

The 4-year-old son of Mach Three drew the widest second row draw (15) in last week's Group One $100,000 Woodlands Taylor Mile. Lang had no option but to settle him back in the field before lighting him up at the 400m.

The Sue Hunter (Melton) trained gelding ran on well from near the rear on the turn to finish a 2.2 length sixth behind Second Wind. Lang was pleased with the run.

"There was a lot of traffic over the short trip and we never really got a decent go at them from the draw. He's been used to racing left-handed all of his life so I was pleased with the run. He will be better for it this week," Lang said.

Friday's Group One $150,000 New Zealand Messenger 4yo Championship isn't going to be any easier. The Victorian copped marble 13 (of 14) when the Auckland Trotting Club announced its programme this afternoon.

Will the extra 1000m help Captain Joy?

"He's only a wee fella compared to a horse say like Bonavista Bay who is 16 hands but yes the race conditions will suit him better this week. The journey won't both him because he's a very adept racehorse. He can win," Lang said.

Meanwhile the only other Australian in the race, the Michael Reed trained Bonavista Bay also copped ‘the visitor's' draw with marble 10 (two on the second line) - one inside last week's Taylor Mile winner, Second Wind.

In fact none of the guns feared well in the draw

Sleepy Tripp (7 again) and Harley Earl (8) were the only favoured runners to draw the front line, while one of the favourites - Breeders Crown winner, Tintin In America drew 14 of 14.

Thirteen starters will line up in the 2010 Group One $150,000 New Zealand Messenger 4yo Championship.

by Duane RANGER (editor)

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