Day At The Track

Queensland Horse of the Year ready

12:06 PM 03 Jun 2015 NZST
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Avonnova seen here winning at Newcastle

Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova is warming up nicely ahead of the Brisbane harness racing winter carnival.

The free-legged pacer will tackle the Gr.1 $100,000 Sunshine Sprint on July 4 before tackling the Gr.1 $125,000 Blacks A Fake on July 18, both events will be staged at Albion Park.

Avonnova has not started since contesting the Inter Dominion Grand Final in Sydney back on March 1 won by Beautide.

Co-owner and trainer Ian Gurney took his ‘stable star’ to a public trial yesterday (Tuesday) at Albion Park in preparation for his pending winter campaign.

Regular reinsman Shane Graham took the drive behind Avonnova in the 1660m workout and finished as a runner-up after settling a long way back from his second-line draw in a time of 1;58.9.

Splits were recorded in 29.7, 31.3, 29.6 and 28.6 seconds.

“He felt as good as he looked; he wasn’t there to do anything serious and it was more of case of getting him off the training track and allowing him to stretch his legs. I was happy to sit back and then just let him run through the line over the final part, he did what was required and it’s a nice start point for the campaign ahead.” Graham said.

It is expected that Avonnova will trial again next week before connections look for a suitable race to kick start his campaign.

Last year, the son of Art Major ran third in the Sunshine Sprint before finishing as a runner-up in the Blacks A Fake; both races were won by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn.

“It would be great to win one or both of these races next month, they’re great races and their great Queensland events so we’ll be giving it our best shot but the interstate and New Zealand raiders will take some beating.

“We will get more serious in his next trial which will bring him up to speed for his return, he will take good benefit from that trial yesterday and it will be much the same next week too. I thought he looked super yesterday, the breakaway has done him the world of good and he’s really muscled up and looks fantastic in his coat.

“The track record (1;50.4) was set last year by Im Themightyquinn in the Sunshine Sprint and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it given a shake this year. Given the track underwent some major upgrades and it’s now settling combined with some of the horses that are heading for these features, it could be possible.”

Avonnova is the winner of 14 races at Albion Park.

by Chris Barsby

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