Day At The Track

Cyrus out to prove punters' wrecking ball

12:00 PM 09 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Stuart McCormick Photo

A veteran Portarlington harness racing hobby trainer is daring to dream tomorrow night at Geelong.

Neville Henderson, 75, will saddle up stable star Cyrus – a well-named son of broodmare Billy Rae – in the Group 3 Flying Brick Cider Co. Geelong Pacing Cup.

“It would be a dream to win it, that’s for sure,” Henderson said, acknowledging that his gelding was up against a bad barrier (gate seven – outside the front row) and a strong field of rivals.

To be driven by Ararat-based Michael Bellman, one of Victoria’s leading reinsmen well-known for travelling far and wide to pilot a winner, Cyrus will meet a three-pronged attack from Victoria’s leading trainer, Emma Stewart.

Stewart is a winner with her horses last year racking up $2.94 million in stakemoney nationally. Her Smythes Creek stable will have Metro Mike, Young Modern and Major Secret in tomorrow night’s Cup.

Henderson’s horse will also have to overcome Geelong Cup hot-favourite Tee Cee Bee Macray from the Alan Tubbs camp with “Candyman” Greg Sugars in the cart.

But Cyrus can break the favourites’ achy breaky hearts, according to his trainer at least.

“I think he’s as good as any of these in this field if we get any luck,” he said.

“He’s a fighter. He loves a stoush.”

Cyrus was going to line up in last season’s Geelong Cup but suffered an injury and Henderson’s daughter, Mandie, who will drive stablemate Black Cougar in the first race tomorrow night, talked her father into having another crack this year.

“His last couple (of starts) have been very good.  We won the Guineas at Terang with him as a three-year-old when he was three-wide the trip. He’s just got that trait and he won’t ever lie down,” Henderson said.

Since taking up horse training in 1983 Henderson has produced 51 winners.

Nowadays he says his daughter’s enthusiasm keeps him in the game, making it a family affair. has Cyrus $51 to win the Cup, with Tee Cee Bee Macray the clear favourite at $2.20.

The Geelong Cup is a leg of the Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship.

By Cody Winnell

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