Day At The Track

Stanley says Menin Gate can set the pace

03:37 PM 18 Oct 2018 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
rsz_menin_gate_20170303.jpg

Menin Gate trainer Michael Stanley is just looking for a competitive hit out from his new star recruit in Friday’s 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup.

But it wouldn’t surprise him if the horse pulled off a first-up win.

The 2015 Victorian Horse of the Year is a surprise starter in the race - his first start since being sidelined with a fractured pelvis 16 months ago.

Stanley said the plan had always been for Menin Gate - who joined his Burrumbeet stable in August - to make a run at this year’s Victorian Inter Dominion series after arriving in good health after such a long spell.

But two impressive trial wins at Maryborough in the past two weeks saw him nominate the seven-year-old ahead of schedule.

“To be honest, I didn’t plan on racing him this early,” Stanley said.

“He’s had a slow build up, we haven’t rushed him. We’ve had no little niggles with his injury. Everything has gone really well.

“His first trial he didn’t do too much, we just sat last and didn’t pull out until the straight and let him run home under his own steam. And when I pulled him out he really attacked the line, he wanted to beat the others. So I was really impressed with that.

“I took him to the trials (again) on Sunday and I thought I’m just going to push him out a bit and give him a really good hit out and just see if he is sharp enough to go to Swan Hill. And he was super. The times he run were equivalent to what he’d have to run in a race.”

Stanley said while his expectations for Friday were simply for Menin Gate to get through the race and be competitive, he believed the former Group 1 winner was up to the pace for a cup win.

“It just looked like an ideal race to step him out in first up,” he said.

“Going for the Inter Dominion, we’d like to get our ranking down and be peaking for when that’s on, but he’s definitely forward enough that he’ll run a really good race first up for sure.”

Friday night’s 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup is the second leg of the Trots Country Cups Championship, which kicked off at Kilmore on September 27.

The David Aiken-trained Im The Boss, who was a last start sixth in Saturday night’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup, will be out to record a fifth country cup, having won at Shepparton, Mildura and Cobram last season before saluting at Kilmore last month.

Stanley said the plan against the country cups champ would be to use the favourable gate three draw to set the pace early.

“(Menin Gate’s) a really good front runner and a hard horse to pass, so that’s probably the plan,” he said.

“We’ve got Im the Boss on the back line and a couple of handy sprinters in the middle of the front row, so if we can keep them behind us that’s probably the ideal way to tackle it early on.

“(But) the expectations (for this one) really are just to get him back to the races and be competitive. Anything above that is a bonus.”

Stanley also has the backmarker in the What the Hill Swan Hill Trotters Cup in Sky Petite, who he said would look to build on a first-up fifth in the Maori Miss Trotters Free for All.

“Her work had been fantastic since before she went to Melton first up,” he said.

“I think she probably just overdid it a little bit early. The lead time was fairly quick, I think the second quickest of the night, even with the pacing races. So first-up from a spell, with that quick lead time, she ran through the middle section a little bit too quick and she got tired.

“(But) I think she was beaten by one of the best up and coming trotters we have in Dance Craze, who sat on her back and she fought on well. She only got beat the eight or nine metres.

“The country cup races probably suit her better than the 2200m mobiles. With the long 2700m stand she’ll have time to settle and follow them into the race, instead of being the one that does the work. There’s a couple of nice trotters in that race though, so it’s going to be a good race, but I’m sure she’ll race really well.”    

It promises to be a ripping night at Swan Hill, with gates to open at 5pm and the course hosting free children’s activities, a punters' club plus a range of different options to take in the night’s racing.

While the corporate box and private deck have sold out, patrons can still snap up a dinning ticket or a place in the Pooles Pavilion via www.swanhilltrots.com.au


Mark Smith

Trots Media

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: