After last week's stunning harness racing performance to finish second in New Zealand's Northern Derby, talented Sydney three year old pacer Scandalman is set to return for the New Zealand Derby in Christchurch later this month.
Theresa Park Trainer Ian Wilson returned to Australia on Monday night with the son ofand signalled his intention to head across the Tasman Sea again.
“I couldn’t have been happier with how everything went when he headed across to Auckland for the Northern Derby and the manner in which we were treated over there has certainly encouraged me to go back again for the New Zealand Derby in Christchurch,” Wilson said.
“I will make the final decision in the next seven days but as long as he has no setbacks then I can’t see why we wouldn’t return and in the back of my mind is qualification for the Harness Jewels in New Zealand which would be another feature race he could compete in.”
The Harness Jewels will be run at Cambridge on June 2 with the highest stake earners in each age and sex qualifying for the rich finals.
“The administrators in New Zealand tell me that after his second in the Northern Derby that he would be borderline for the Jewels now so if he was to go back and perform reasonably well in the New Zealand Derby then that would guarantee him a start in the Jewels.”
In between the NZ Derby and the Harness Jewels Wilson must decide whether to target the New South Wales Derby or the Western Australia Derby.
“The Derbies in Sydney and Perth basically overlap so that means you can’t be in both and just because it would be easier to race in the NSW Derby because it’s in our backyard it shouldn’t be assumed that is the direction we will go, I will sit down and look at both races and weigh up whether it is better to travel with him again.”
MEDAL OF HONOUR IN APG CONTENTION
A thrilling win in a heat of the Australian Pacing Gold at Tabcorp Park Menangle by three year old gelding Medal Of Honour has forced owner Scott McDonald to cut short a business trip to the United States of America and return home in time to attend Saturday night’s final. McDonald learnt of Tuesday’s heat win while in Boston and assured trainer Peter Russo he will return in time for the $100,000 feature.
“I spoke with Scott after leaving Menangle on Tuesday and he is obviously very excited and wouldn’t miss the final for anything,” Russo said.
“We always knew the horse had plenty of ability and he has shown glimpses of it in the past as a two year old and hopefully now he is starting to put it altogether because if they run the race to suit him on Saturday night then he is going to be right there at the finish.”
Medal Of Honour has only raced three times this season, finishing fifth at his first run back when suffering a heart fibrillation in February forcing Russo to change the immediate plans with the son of.
“It was very concerning when he suffered the fibrillation first up so we took him home, listened to the advice of the vet, gave him a week off and tried to have him ready for the Australian Pacing Gold.”
“I didn’t know if he was going to be ready in time but then he put in a super run last week when he finished second behind Fire At Will and they ran home their final 400 metres in 26.6 and that told me that he was ready to compete in the APG.”
Tuesday’s win was the gelding’s fourth with the other victories coming in heats of the Linden Huntley Little Memorial, Bathurst Gold Crown and the Australian Pacing Gold as a two year old.
“He is eligible for so many races and he did a really good job as a two year old because he competed in five series and made four finals, it will be the same again this season so we just have to work out which way we want to go with him after Saturday night.”
JAMAR READY TO RETURN TO MCCARTHY
The New Zealand trainer and part owner of Franco Jamar, Steve Dolan has hinted the exciting prospect may return to the Cobbitty stables of Luke McCarthy by the end of this month. Franco Jamar has not raced since finishing fifth in last year’s Victoria Cup but is scheduled to return to the races next week.
“If everything goes right the plan is to take him to the trials at Rangiora on Wednesday 21st March and he will then race two days later at Addington before returning to Luke McCarthy the following week,” Dolan said.
“We would like him to race in the Len Smith Mile at the end of April and to be fair to Luke I don’t want to be dropping the horse back at his stables too close to the event, the horse will need some time to settle back in over there so one run here in New Zealand should be ideal for his preparation.”
Franco Jamar trialled at Rangiora on February 27th finishing second behind Dream Out Loud but Dolan was unhappy with the son of.
“He had coughed a couple of times the day before he trialled but seemed fine on the morning of the trial so he went around but afterwards we found out that he was suffering from a wee respiratory infection and I had to back off him a little bit but everything is fine now and I’m very happy with him.”
“People in Australia would remember that he had a few behavioural problems behind the gate but I have changed the bit on him and he relaxed nicely in the score up in his first trial so I think he is over those issues now.”
Franco Jamar will not be the only horse heading to McCarthy’s from the Dolan stable with smart four year old Dream Out Loud booked to make the trip to Australia.
“Dream Out Loud will be sent across for a short time and we will just see how he handles the class in Sydney, ideally he would measure up to the Chariots Of Fire but if not he will race on the undercard on the big night.”