Day At The Track

Trevor Casey hopeful sacrifice will pay off in Dominion

06:00 AM 13 Nov 2015 NZDT
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Trevor Casey - Hopes turning down a Group 1 start will pay off
Trevor Casey - Hopes turning down a Group 1 start will pay off

Turning down a Group I start is not easy but Trevor Casey his hoping his sacrifice will pay off. 

Bookmakers have Stent as short as $1.80 to win the $250,000 Group I Dominion Trot at Addington Raceway on Friday.

Nine of the Dominion field went around in the Group I NZ free-for-all trot on Tuesday but Stent was left at home.

Stent has 30 victories and multiple Group wins but a Dominion victory would rank up there with the best for Casey, who races the 7-year-old son of Dream Vacation.

"It's like the New Zealand Cup for the trotters," Casey said.

The champion trotter was third two years ago behind Master Lavros and ran home for a disappointing sixth last year but was later found to be struggling from asthma-like symptoms.

Co-trainer Colin DeFilippi is happy with how Stent has progressed since his last start at Kaikoura and says he is in perfect fettle to try to win his first Dominion at his third attempt.

But Casey is not getting carried away despite Stent's heavy favouritism.

"They don't come easy, they never do, even though we are in a favourable position you've still got to go out there and do it."

Casey is sure Stent wold have backed up but said he wanted to do the best thing by his horse and give him the best chance in the Dominion.

"We went to Kaikoura because we were a run short but he ran a national record time so we thought it would be best to go in fresh rather than race on Tuesday."

Stent went under Sheemon's national record of 3-00.6 set at Kaikoura 12 months earlier by 0.4 sec.

Mark Jones is predicting Master Lavros, second favourite at $6, will be improved on his fourth in Kaikoura.

"He needed that run up there, he hadn't raced for three weeks," he said.

Habibti was good when finishing third behind Monbet and Alley Way on Tuesday in the NZ free-for-all after sitting parked for the first half of the 1950m.

"I was happy with her but I thought she probably should have run second," co-trainer David Butt said.

"She just died in the last 60 or 70m so we have to just have to hope she improves with that run but it's hard to know."

Butt, who trains in partnership with wife Catherine, said the former derby winner has bounced through the run.

Habibti has not raced over two miles but his trainers are picking the distance will not be an issue.

"I don' think it will worry her, she's always been a good little stayer,"  Butt said.

Butt is hopeful rather than confident that Habibti can defeat the likes of Stent, Master Lavros, Sheemon and Alley Way.

Last year's runner up, Sheemon, was disqualified on Tuesday but his run was much improved on recent outings and at his best will be a wining chance.

Swedish trotter Daryl Boko broke rounding the final bend on his New Zealand debut and further improvement is expected on Friday.

Greg and Nina Hope might not have their boom 4-year-old Monbet in the field but do have two runners in Quite A Moment and $81 outsider Harrysul.

Quite A Moment is at $16 but has to be a strong place chance on her form since returning home from Australia.

Mat Kermeen

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