Day At The Track

Nelson's new home

10:35 AM 16 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Franco Nelson, Harness racing
Franco Nelson

Leading Western Australian trainer Greg Bond is chuffed to have classy Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson join his stable albeit just for a short stint.

A lack of suitable travel prompted connections to this week abandon plans to take Franco Nelson back home for the Auckland Cup and, instead, leave him with Bond for a trio of feature races in Gloucester Park.

The first of those will be the $60,000 Group 2 Village Kid (2130m) on December 30.

Then follows the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup (2536m) on January 6 and the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup (2936m) another week later.

“It’s a buzz to have a horse of his talent join the team, even if it’s just for a few weeks,” Bond said.

“We’d kept him ticking along because John wanted him to head back for the Auckland Cup so he hasn’t lost any fitness.

“He’s a got a lot of things going for him and these races will really suit him if he holds his Inter Dominion form.”

Franco Nelson ran third, fifth and fifth in his three Inter Dominion heats before a totally luckless fifth to Smolda in the final last Friday night.

Driver Dexter Dunn was bailed-up on the marker pegs and dragged back to last when the leader, Run Oneover, compounded in the last lap. Franco Nelson stormed home for fifth.

Dunn is likely to return to drive in the Fremantle and WA Cups.

“That first race clashes with Auckland Cup time so John’s happy for Ryan Warwick to drive him then. We’d expect Dexter to come across for the other two big ones,” Bond said.

Bond is also targeting the Fremantle and WA Cups with his stable star, Our Jimmy Johnstone, who was unlucky to miss an Inter Dom final berth and ran a fighting third in the consolation.

“It all went wrong for him in the last heat when he was kicking the sulky and took charge. He ran himself into the ground and that’s why he missed the final,” Bond said.

“He did all the work and ran really in the consolation and has had a freshen-up since.

“He might skip the Village Kid and go straight to the Freo Cup. I’ll decide over the next week.”

Bond has opted to give another of his open-class pacers – Simply Susational and Ima Connoisseur – short spells and will bypass the upcoming features.

In other WA news, the state’s former top pacer David Hercules returns from injury and retirement in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park tonight (Friday).

The David Thompson-trained $1.25 million earner has not raced since a fifth at Gloucester Park on July 10, 2015.

“He’s had three trials and it’s time to race. I’m actually glad he’s drawn the outside (nine) because he’s not quite ready to really burn at the start,” Thompson said. “He’ll go back and hopefully finish it off really well.”

It will be hard for him to beat Cyamach, who starts from three and looked very good leading throughout to win the Inter Dominion consolation last Friday night.

Adam Hamilton

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