Ricky May found out the hard way why you can never be too confident heading into the Harness Jewels.
Despite picking up a victory with Terror To Love at last year’s Jewels in Ashburton, the Methven horseman had a tough day at the office overall despite being touted as the driver to follow throughout the day.
Seven of May’s drives at the meeting started inside the top three favourites and only three filled a placing.
“It definitely taught me that you can’t be too confident that’s for sure.’’
Fast forward 12 months and the most successful driver in New Zealand Trotting Cup history is in a similar position as he heads to Cambridge tomorrow for this year’s $1.2 million Harness Jewels Raceday.
Despite being devoid of a stand out drive like Terror To Love this year, May’s dance card for the meeting is high quality and he has more than one chance at adding to the two Jewels victories he already has.
“It’s a good book of drives and for once the draws have actually come out alright for me.
“I’m just trying not to get too far ahead of myself this year.’’
Heading the list of drives is speedy pacing mare Helena Jet.
Had it not been for champion mare, Adore Me, the Greg and Nina Hope trained mare would be going around a commanding favourite – instead she is the runner everyone is tipping to finish second.
May can’t afford and doesn’t want to think that way.
“You can’t go out there thinking you are just there to run second.
“I think she is a great chance in the race, people probably underestimate just how good she is.
“Her trial at Addington last week was really impressive – she felt great.’’
Coming into the race fresh, Helena Jet is going to have to be at her best.
“She does seem to race some of her best races when she is in a fresh state so we are just going to have to punch out and see where we end up.’’
Helena Jet is one of three runners May will driver for the Woodend Beach based Hope training duo.
The other two, Monbet and Mossdale Connor, both turned heads with impressive workout victories at Cambridge last week and from good barrier draws they are expected to play a big role in both of their respective races.
“I think Monbet would have to be my best chance of the day,’’ May said.
“He’s a really talented trotter and he’s finally got a barrier draw to use, he feels like he could trot out really quickly if I want him too.
“Mossdale Connor is in the same sort of position, he can fly the gate if he wants too, but it’s what we do after that is the big question – I think he could lead if he wanted to.
“This could be his big chance at getting a big one.’’
May’s book of drives for the day are rounded out by three-year-old filly, Lancewood Lizzie for Auckland trainer Barry Purdon and also Davey’s Gift in the three—year-old Ruby for Michael Ward.
By Matt Markham (HRNZ)