Day At The Track

Time for Aiken's boy to react

04:30 PM 05 Sep 2020 NZST
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Reactor Now,Harness racing
Reactor Now

Tonight presents a moment for Reactor Now that could well dictate much of the promising pacer’s path for the forthcoming season.

Having gone on a tear since joining David Aiken’s stable, winning his last eight of nine with the only failure being a retirement, Reactor Now faces his most stern test in the TAB Long May We Play Pace, which streams on Trots Vision at 8.03pm.

A good performance from tonight’s favourable gate one draw could prompt planning for the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup, but before contemplating the $300,000 feature there is much to prove.

Reinsman Josh Aiken told Trots Talk a Victoria Cup was “something we really haven’t discussed”.

“He’s been an interesting horse, the discussion surrounding him with us and the owners have just been take it a run at a time,” he said. “He’s a big horse, he’s been given time, we are going to continue giving him time.

“(Tonight) will be a big test to see how he goes against better quality horses. Best case scenario, if he manages to win this race Saturday night and he mixes his name in with horses like My Kiwi Mate and Hurricane Harley, I think it’s definitely on the table. You just have to see how he matches up to those really classy customers.”

The market is certainly optimistic he can, with opening him as a $2 chance for tonight’s sprint race and punters back him into $1.70. Aiken believes their confidence is well founded.

“He’s a really nice horse, he’s got loads of raw ability and he wins races in good time comfortably,” he said.

“He’s got a stack of ability, he just needs to get some race manners and some tractability and a bit of ring craft. No doubt he’s going places.

"You see a lot of horses go through their grades and put races on end. I suppose the most impressive thing is the times he can do it in and the way he’s been able to put opposition horses away.”

And that’s the plan tonight, that Reactor Now holds the lead and then has enough in the tank to outsprint My Kiwi Mate, who will likely be parked on his back in Greg Sugars’ hands, and challenges from the likes of returning Hurricane Harley and second up Sicario.

“Plan A is definitely to hold the lead,” Aiken said. “You’ve got to take into consideration you have a really classy customer in My Kiwi Mate on your back. You’ve got to give your utmost respect to a horse like that, who’s already been at the top level. A horse like Reactor Now, he’s got all that in front of him.

“And you’ve just got to be cautious that you don’t create too much early tempo for a horse like Hurricane Harley. He’s a really classy horse, but on their nights Sicario and Mister Wickham are really deadly as well.

“It’s a really fine line between doing your best to hold the front and not creating too much of a first half tempo to bring those other horses into it.”

Aiken will also tonight partner a horse who’s been there done that in multiple Group 1 winner Big Jack Hammer, who will contest the Your Sold Real Estate Trot.

It will be the second start of Big Jack Hammer’s campaign after galloping late when he finished eighth amid a star-studded field, a result Aiken put down “to driver error”.

“That was an absolute stinker by me. I was following the winner and probably run a definite second, the way he felt there’s some chance he wins that race,” he said, having moved off Imsettogo’s back from three pegs only to run into traffic. “You can scrub that eight off his name and put it next to mine.

“He has come back really good from a freshen up, he’s felt awesome in his trials, he was running out of his skin at Bendigo. It’s a really even field, there’s an argument for every runner. I think that will be a really good race.”


HRV - Michael Howard

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