Day At The Track

Richie hopeful his filly's a top Drop

05:16 PM 21 Oct 2020 NZDT
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Excellent Drop,Harness racing
HRV

She was an eye-catcher at her last start when breaking her maiden status and Richie Caruana hopes to soon learn whether that sizzling finish was more than a drop in the ocean.

The trainer-driver-owner’s three-year-old trotter, Excellent Drop, returns from a spell at Echuca tonight for the Jodale Cleaning Echuca Trotters Handicap, where a good performance to kick off her second campaign may prompt a crack at forthcoming age group features.

“We will see how we go but there are a couple of good age group races coming up,” Caruana said.

Excellent Drop’s return tonight in race four, which will stream on Trots Vision at 8.01pm, pits the lightly-raced trotter against some much more experienced rivals, including sharing the 10-metre line with 97-race veteran Valley Ess Jay.

It could be a telling second campaign for the Bacardi Lindy filly, who Caruana broke in for breeder Joe Aquilina, with the latter a “pretty close” friend who “virtually gave me the horse”.

“I liked her as a two-year-old, but didn’t push her,” Caruana said. “I like to see if their natural ability shines through. She’s a little-bit-better-than-average trotter. She’s always been pretty honest. I haven’t had any problems with her gait.”

Excellent Drop didn’t break stride (touch wood) in any of the six races in her first campaign, which produced four placings and then in her last start at Melton a breakthrough maiden win, despite being shuffled to the back of the field.

A tiring Aldebaran Leroy had seemed to put paid to Caruana’s filly's chances in the June 1 trot, but she zoomed home to pick off the tiring front runners in an eye-catching finish.

“She worked good prior to that race,” Caruana said. “I was pretty confident she would run a place, but when she got shuffled back on the turn I didn’t think she had a chance. She picked them up pretty good, though they didn’t run great time.”

Caruana expects a miracle late dash won’t be required tonight, with Excellent Drop drawn the outside of the three horses on the 10-metre line amid a six-horse field.

“First up I don’t know what to expect really,” he said. “I reckon she’s coming up good. She might need another run to get to where she was.

“I feel a little better with her behind horses, but it is a leader’s track. I don’t know exactly what will happen at the start. I will drive her safely and if she steps well she will be thereabouts.

“These older horses are more experienced, but the young horse are pretty smart too these days.”

 

HRV - Michael Howard

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