Day At The Track

Trainer is Talking Tough

11:04 PM 06 Jul 2016 NZST
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ultimate Art.jpg
Ultimate Art
Dan Costello

Harness racing trainer Shannon Price is talking tough.“We will lead”. Price declared.Following the barrier draw yesterday (Tuesday) for Saturday night’s Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park, the Logan Reserve conditioner showed her hand early.The Price trained Ultimate Art has been the form horse in Brisbane in recent times, since being switched from the stables of Ellalong horseman Mick Formosa to Price at the start of the year, the former Group One winner has regained the fire in the belly.

To date, Ultimate Art has won 9 of his 12 starts which includes a streak of eight in a row.The Modern Art entire was aiming for nine straight before tasting defeat in the Gr.3 $30,000 Lucky Creed on June 18 against Avonnova when he was crossed from the inside gate.

He has since bounced back into the winner’s circle with his all the way victory last week in the Listed $25,000 Mr Feelgood defeating dual Queensland Horse of the Year in Avonnova.

“He has a little habit when he scores up and he got the timing all wrong which placed Bart (Cockburn – driver) at a disadvantage, that’s the reason he couldn’t muster that night. He proved last week he has the necessary speed to lead and that’s our aim this week.

“Sure there’s some speedy types drawn on his outside but I don’t think they can cross, he’ll be given a strong warm-up and he’ll be focused. We’re really happy with the way he’s improved his gate speed since being up here and that comes from the hard style of racing that Brisbane produces, he would’ve been no chance of leading a field like this when he first arrived.

“During his win streak we started thinking the Sunshine Sprint would be a great race for him, he was winning and running unbelievable times and that made us think he might be capable of breaking the track record if he drew to lead. Our aim is to win but the track record could be another bonus.”

Champion Perth pacer Im Themightyquinn holds the track record at 1:50.4; he set the mark when he scored in this race back in 2014.Since that night, no horse has gone remotely close to breaking the record.In fact, no horse has even broken into the 1:50 time zone at the famous Breakfast Creek 1000m oval.

While Price is confident of leading, she is fearful of the second-line runners with New Zealand star Christen Me drawn directly on the back of Ultimate Art while last start Gr.1 Len Smith Mile winner

Hectorjayjay has drawn gate 10, three off the second-line.

“Given how even races are nowadays, being on the inside gives your horse a massive advantage and Christen Me is going to secure a perfect trip in transit. He needed the run badly first-up a few weeks back and he’ll be a much sharper prospect this week, and next week for that matter.

“Hectorjayjay is a special animal and he’s got my full attention, his point to point speed is like nothing else and he wasn’t draw dependent like most others in this race. He’ll be wide at some stage but if he’s within distance, he could still get over the top of everyone.

“While I respect all my rivals, they’re the two horses I fear the most in this race this weekend. We haven’t seen a race like this for some time at Albion Park, even when Blacks A Fake was racing it didn’t produce the build up like this race has but Blackie was just better than everything else. I can’t wait; I’m excited to be part of it.”

Mick and Kirsty Formosa will travel up to watch their pride and joy compete over the next week, taking in a family holiday on the Gold Coast while venturing to the track to cheer loudly for the horse affectionately known as ‘Thomas’.

And they’ll provide plenty of his favourite treats win, lose or draw – licorice bites.

Chris Barsby

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