Smart three-year-old trotter Trouble Rieu is the latest to emerge on to the scene in time for Saturday’s $30,000 Group Three Hambletonian Classic at Ashburton, which is shaping up to be a stellar field.
After disappointing when fifth at Addington on January 17, the Brent White trained son of Great Success looked right back to his best at Geraldine on Saturday where he easily accounted for his 14 rivals after looping the field to sit parked.
“Brent (White) has had a few minor issues with him, but he seems right back on top of his game now,” said driver Stephen McNally.
“At his best he is definitely capable of matching it with the best of them,” warned McNally. “He proved that last season and I always thought he would be better at three,” he added.
Trainer Brent White was quick to agree.
“He is a lovely horse, who has derby type written all over him,” said White. “He generally has good manners too, which could be a big assist in a race like the Hambletonian.”
Others who will more than likely compete in Saturday’s trotting feature include Thebestlove and Majestic Time, who were both super impressive when winning at Rangiora last Tuesday.
In fact, Thebestlove set a new 2000 metre New Zealand record for three-year-trotters when downing Lothario, who will also stake a claim on Saturday.
“And of course One Over Da Moon will be there, and we all saw how good he was last season,” added White.
Meanwhile, Thorn In My Side, who was the winner of the ninth race on the Geraldine card has been retired on a winning note in foal to super sire Bettor’s Delight.
“She is actually a really nice mare, but she has been plagued with soreness issues and bad luck her whole career,” said trainer Peter Robertson.
“She is by Falcon Seelster from a sister to multiple Group One winner Lanercost, so she should make a lovely broodmare,” he added.
In other news from Geraldine, junior driver Nathan Purdon continued his good association with Uncle Grant Payne when guiding Little Miss Sunshine to victory at odds of $27.90.
Purdon has now driven for Payne on six occasions, resulting in three wins and a placing.
Little Miss Sunshine was having just her second start for Payne after being transferred from the barn of Robbie Holmes.
“She was in need of the run her first start for Grant and she ended up having a tough trip, so we were actually quietly confident of a bold run today.”
By Mitchell Robertson