Gore winner Mexican Invasion is bound to be driven assertively again at Winton tomorrow (29 March) in an attempt to take advantage of her strengths and minimise the impact of her weakness.
In addition, her driver Brent Barclay will be keen to avoid the hassles he experienced after a previous drive on the mare.
Back in January, Mexican Invasion was beaten a nose by the fast-finishing Lyalldale Invasion. Barclay was charged "for allegedly failing to drive his horse out to the finish" and a hearing was held a few days later. Part of the JCA report says "Mr Barclay concluded by saying ... if anything it was simply ‘misjudgment on his part'.".
Barclay, who was suspended (effectively) for four meetings and fined $500, left nothing to chance at Gore and the pair led by a decent margin throughout. By having a good buffer, Barclay didn't have to drive the mare out at the finish and her trainer Brian Norman saw that as a factor in the win.
"She doesn't like being hit," he said, raising the prospect that Mexican Invasion might be an early advocate for the introduction of padded whips!
Apart from that, Norman is happy that Mexican Invasion has the attributes necessary to cope with the step up in class.
"She is a good starter, a good sprinter, a good stayer, she should handle the next grade," he said.
Mexican Invasion started her career with Ashburton breeder and trainer Colin Harrison, and joined Norman in December. In her first five starts for him, she recorded four seconds and a third. In her sixth start, she was last at Forbury Park.
"She was tight in her muscles and Leon Crawford helped her with manipulation," Norman explained, "I waited till she had a bad race. She had ten days off and is far better now."
Mexican Invasion is raced by prominent Gore harness administrator Colin McPherson, his wife Sandra and Gordon Martin of Wanaka. McPherson has been involved with the Gore club for about 30 years including two terms as chairman. Martin, who is with Tourism New Zealand, was in Australia on business last weekend and missed the first win.