Day At The Track

Lets Slash An Burn to deal to top field again

04:22 AM 15 Jun 2011 NZST
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Savannah Way Geoff Webster and Lets Slash An Burn
Savannah Way
Geoff Webster and Lets Slash An Burn

After last week's overdue breakthrough in the Glenferrie Farm Italian Cup, brilliant Bannockburn harness racing trainer and driver Geoff Webster may have finally found the key to star stayer Lets Slash An Burn; himself.

Having handed the reins to leading stable reinsman Greg Sugars for 10 of his 11 starts this year Webster was forced back into the cart on Friday night to steer the gifted son of Christian Cullen when the gun, young pilot opted to enter his own stable star; Johnorama.

After producing an inspired steer to land Lets Slash An Burn a drought-breaking win, the champion former South Australian will occupy the cart once more for the $20,000 Cavalier Homes, The Enduro at Tabcorp Park this weekend.

“Johnorama is obviously in again this week so I’ll be back in the sulky - but I wouldn’t be telling Greg I’m the key to this horse winning, I don’t think he’d take to that too well,” Webster laughed.

“He (Lets Slash An Burn) had been working up to a win, his run the week before was pretty good and he’s been a consistent horse for a very long time, so it was no surprise to us last week, it was just a surprise to everybody else.

“He ran one bad race where we went forward and just put in an uncharacteristic run but his form both before and after that had been great. It’s not long ago that he ran second in a Mildura Cup so we’ve been very happy with him all the way through.”

The man behind last season’s runner-up Mister Zion, Webster acknowledges this year’s The Enduro boasts a slightly weaker field than in most recent renewals but is refusing to take Friday night’s select field of free for all pacers lightly.

With six metres spanning the first 10 horses home in the Italian Cup and three rivals from that race set to line up in the 2760-metre stand start feature this Friday night, the champion trainer is all too aware of the fine line between winning and losing on Victoria’s open class circuit.

But after a stunning return to the winners list, the canny conditioner is confident his former Kiwi pacer’s fabled flexibility could be the key to a second straight success at Victorian harness headquarters.

“Johnorama’s going very well at the minute, Vito Vito’s a good standing start horse, even Tanabi Bromac ran an improved race last week, so while it isn’t the strongest free for all you’ve ever seen, these sorts of races are never easy to win,” he said.

“But this guy’s great strength is his versatility. I mean he can do it from either end, so no matter what happens we’ll have options with him.

“I can drive him hot or cold now that he’s a strong, mature horse, so I don’t need to be anywhere in particular in transit, I’ll just be trying to get him comfortable and hopefully his class shines through in the end.”


Savannah's chance to prove he's an Emerging Star

The same can’t be said of all his rivals, but Sedgwick squaregaiter Savannah Way is one of the genuine runners in this year’s Emerging Stars Trotters Handicap that appears to have his best in front of him.

The Ross Graham-trained six-year-old will be out to make it seven wins from his past 10 starts when he contests a $15,000 heat this Friday night at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.

The Sundon gelding, who won just three of his first 36 starts, has turned it around in the past three months and while Graham said experimentation played a big part, he thinks maturity has also played its role.

“He’s been a horse that we’ve always been messing around with his shoes and I don’t know whether it (the turnaround) is because we’ve got it right with that or the horse has just clicked,” Graham said.

“But right now I don’t think it matter how he was shod because he just seems to be trotting a lot more solidly.”

Savannah Way will be chasing a hat-trick of wins this weekend after defeating class mare Miss Warbucks in a TM0 at Tabcorp Park on May 20 before overcoming a 30-metre handicap to win at Maryborough on June 8.

They were performances that convinced Graham to have a crack at the Emerging Stars, which culminates with a $20,000 final at Tabcorp Park next Friday night.

Savannah Way will start off 10m in the opening 2760m heat in which established star Earl Of Mot, a former Australian mile rate record holder, and talented-but-erratic Kiwi mare Pocaro share the 40m backmark.

“His last two runs have been very good,” Graham said. “His win at Melton, he did a bit of work early, and then to come off 30 – realistically, I thought it was going to be a big ask for him – but in the end he pulled it off.

“We hadn’t really set him for this, we’ve just been taking it one week at a time, but this race is there and he’s off 10 (metres), so he should have a reasonable chance I’d imagine.”

Savannah Way, to be driven by Daryl Douglas, is in the first of two Emerging Stars heats at Tabcorp Park, which kicks off the nine-race card at 6:43pm.

The other is the penultimate event on the card, at 10:14pm, and sees last-start Tabcorp Park Free-For-All winner No Early Spark the 20m backmarker.

Headstrong mare Miss Warbucks, Pepperell Victory and the in-form Master Kiesey are among the top chances off the front.

by Brad BISHOP

Chris Lang Jnr’s European experience

Chris Lang Jnr was on Radio Sport National earlier today talking to Adam Hamilton about his recent European adventure and what the future may hold for his champion trotter Let Me Thru.

Click here to listen to the audio.

Alistair HOGG

Lets Slash An Burn winning at Melton's Tabcorp park last Friday night (June 10):

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