Day At The Track

Trainer looking for hope

06:54 PM 28 May 2016 NZST
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Ricky May with trainer Greg Hope.jpg
Ricky May and Greg Hope

Enghien's​ tardy effort at Saturday's Harness Jewels workouts has the warning bells ringing with a deafening tone for favourite punters.

The dominant two-year-old Ruby favourite was never comfortable behind the mobile and galloped away from the gate at Cambridge Raceway.

His fractious performance was enough for co-trainer Greg Hope to admit he now has some serious concerns around the son of Love You's manners heading in to the $100,000 Group I next Saturday.

So much so, Hope made a plea to move Enghien to the unruly because he thought he was a better chance of stepping away and was probably still good enough to win from there.

But his request to give away his handy draw of barrier three was declined because punters had already bet into the post-draw market.

Hope said he cannot give punters any guarantees and Enghien's post-barrier draw quote of $1.18 seems sure to drift when the Jewels markets re-open on Sunday.

"I'm not overly confident with him now, more hopeful.

"We've got some work to do with him during the week," Hope said.

Hope officially trains in partnership with wife Nina but their son Ben, an integral part of their Woodend Beach operation, will also be working triple overtime in the next seven days.

Enghien was still good enough to beat home Mortician, the only other runner in the heat, but he will not be winning the Jewels if he gives away 50m like he did at the workouts.

"He trotted lovely afterwards, he finished it off really well but the start is a concern," Hope said.

Everything centres around the start for Enghien – if he gets away safely it is most likely game over for his rivals.

Enghien only arrived in the north on Thursday and Hope said it is a possibility the trip may have taken something out of the talented trotter and he may settle in this week.

It was a morning of rocks and diamonds for the Hope team with four-year-old Ruby favourite Monbet looking every bit the champion he is with a leisurely jog in 2:00.6 for the mile on an easy-rated track.

Hope cannot fault Monbet, a winner of six Group I races already this season, and was "really happy" with his hit-out.

Meanwhile, any doubts around the health of Field Marshal have been put to bed.

An impressive workout win has confirmed to punters what trainer Tim Butt already knew – a minor bout of colic on May 17 has done nothing to decrease his chances in the four-year-old Emerald.

Field Marshal did a bit of work off the gate to lead all the way.

He cut out the 2200m trip in 2:44.5 with a mile rate of 2:00.3 and closing sectionals of 58.1 and 26.6 to beat home Bettor Spirits by one-and-a-quarter lengths with a further two-and-a-quarter back to Chase The Dream.

"It was probably the perfect trial for him," Butt said.

A dual Group I winner in his last two starts when winning the Taylor Mile and Messenger, Field Marshal's chances of a third win on the trot at the elite level have only been helped by drawing the ace.

Field Marshal can burn the gate and in the hands of Dexter Dunn will be going straight to the front and Butt is not cornered about leading all the way.

"People have him as a speed horse, which he is, but he's put in some really tough runs too.

"I'll leave it up to Dexter but when you draw there over a mile your hand is forced to try and lead all the way really," Butt said.

Field Marshal's favouritism is likely to firm off the workout win, especially with main rival Titan Banner starting from the outside of the front-line.

Mat Kermeen

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