Alan Clark has Group One glory on his mind and the way The Fiery Ginga has returned to racing this season that goal could become a reality in New Zealand and Australia in 2013-2014.
“He’s never really won a big Group race, but that is the ambition this season. He’s gone close placing five times in big races last season, but I’m hoping this will be his year because in 2012-2013 he was only running at 95 per cent.
“He raced with a couple of abscesses on his feet last year, but this time he’s 100 per cent. The way he’s going there’s no reason why he still couldn’t be racing at 14,” Clark said of his 7-year-oldgelding.
The Fiery Ginga notched up his 25th victory in 92 starts ($352,827) when winning Friday’s (August 23) $12,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Handicap for three-plus win trotters.
It was a gutsy performance after starting from the back mark of 30 metres.
Clark settled near the tail of the field before sending ‘The Ginga’ around to dispute the pace at the 1000m. In the straight he surged past the pace-making Whata Gamble, but still had to contend with race favourite Sovereignty who followed The Fiery Ginga in the three-wide train.
In what was a gutsy sprint up the lane, The Fiery Ginga kept on giving to win the 2600m stand by three-quarters of a length and a head in 3:17.1.
Uncas (Brett Thomas) and Sovereignty (Robbie Holmes) were third. Mile rate: 2:01.9. Last 800m: 61.3. Last 400m: 30.7.
Clark saw similarities between his stable star and the Otago rugby team, who on Friday lifted the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in more than half a century of trying.
“They’ve both got close to winning the big one but have just come up short every time. We got close a couple of times last season but the good ones in front of us had just a little but more speed and stamina to keep us out.
“The way he’s going this year I’m hoping all that might change. He’s a lot stronger this time in. He’s getting back to where he should be. I think he will be in for a good season,” Clark said.
The Mosgiel horseman said The Fiery Ginga’s second behind Dr Hook in last year’s Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile at Ashburton as his highlight in 2012-2013.
“He went 1:56.3 that day and I think on a track like Menangle he could go 1:54,” Clark said.
Last year he raced 23 times for seven wins and nine placings. He banked $83, 608. This season The Fiery Ginga is one from one.
He will follow a similar racing schedule to what he pursued last season.
Clark said he would probably line him up at Addington again, then Ashburton before tackling the big guns in the Group One Dominion at Addington in November.
Then he will head north for racing at Alexandra Park and Cambridge Raceway in December and January before tackling the big trot races in Australia and both Tabcorp Park Menangle and Melton’s Tabcorp Park.
The Fiery Ginga is the third foal of nine out of the one-win– Genna Hest mare Anreca Hest.
He is owned by Clark, Mrs F. E. Clark and his breeder Steve Thompson. It was Thompson’s daughter who came up with the name ‘Ginga’.
Clark said he had five horses in work including Speedy Success and hispacer The Ginga Ninja – both who were nominated for Sunday’s Gore meeting.
The 59-year-old said he also had a lot of time for his “nice” 2-year-old, Sun Star, who had been trialling well.
Clark wins with outsider…..The Alan Clark trained and driven Speedy Success paid $32.10 when winning the opening event at Gore on Sunday (August 25).
The Great Success gelding bolted in by 5-1/4 lengths. It was the 4-year-old’s first win in 31 starts.
By Duane Ranger
Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand