Day At The Track

Gear changes to help Lady De La Renta

06:54 PM 12 Apr 2018 NZST
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Lady De La Renta, harness racing
Lady De La Renta
Gloucester Park Photo

Banjup trainer Annie Belton has made several gear changes to Lady De La Renta in a bid to cure her wayward habit of over racing, and the promising filly should prove hard to beat in the $18,000 Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace at harness racing headquarters on Friday night.

Lady De La Renta is on trial for the $150,000 Gannon’s WA Oaks on May 4 and reinsman Chris Voak has high hopes that the talented three-year-old will be more tractable and notch her sixth win from 13 starts.

“We’ve taken all the head gear off her - no Dollies, no blocks and changed the bit to a soft (rubber) apple bit and put on a fly veil,” Voak said.

“I drove her on the track at Byford this (Tuesday) morning with all these changes and she was beautiful. She didn’t pull and track-worked the best she has ever track-worked. Her manners were good and the times were good.

“Annie thought she may have had the filly a touch underdone for her past two races and she thinks that may have contributed to the over-racing with the head gear she had on. So, we are now hoping that she doesn’t over race on Friday and if that’s the case, she will be right in it.

“Annie can’t do much more than what she has done with the gear changes. If Lady De La Renta jumps to the front from the inside barrier and settles and I am able to rate her how I’d like to rate her, she will be hard to beat.

“You saw what she did two starts ago when she almost beat the colts in the Western Gateway Classic. The winner Bechers Brook rated 1.56.4 over the 2536m and Lady De La Renta finished third less than a length behind Bechers Brook and Cott Beach.

“Lady De La Renta rated 1.56.5 which was faster than the time recorded by King of Swing in winning the WA Derby last Friday night, rating 1.57.0 Lady De La Renta wasn’t entitled to finish third after running the first half in 58sec. and over racing in the lead.

“Lady De La Renta has beaten every horse in Friday night’s race except Our Angel of Harlem, and that’s because she has never raced against her. She also is the fastest filly over 2536m bar Cott Beach, who finished in front of her at her latest outing. I have no doubt about Lady De La Renta’s ability. The question mark is over her manners.”

Lady De La Renta contested the 2536m WA Derby last Friday night when she started from the back line and over raced. After being in eighth position after a lap Lady De La Renta moved to sixth, three wide, at the bell and was tiring 200m from home when she met with interference and wilted to finish 11th behind King of Swing.

Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed conceded that starting from the outside (barrier three) on the back line was far from ideal for Our Angel of Harlem, but he expects that the New Zealand-bred filly will fight out the finish of Friday night’s Oaks prelude.

Our Angel of Harlem had a tough run from the No. 7 barrier in an Oaks prelude last Friday night when she finished a close third behind Liberty Rose and Miss Sangrial. She raced three wide early and then in the breeze with the odds-on favourite Amelias Courage setting a fast pace. She took a narrow lead with 400m to travel before wilting slightly in the closing stages.

“The barrier draw will make it hard, but I think she will improve on last week’s run,” Reed said. “The 2500m will suit her right down to the ground and she’ll be running on. I couldn’t be happier with her.”

Liberty Rose, another New Zealand-bred filly who is prepared by Gary Hall Snr, will be attempting to extend her unbeaten record in Australia when she starts from an awkward draw at No. 7 on the front line. She started from the inside of the back line and enjoyed a soft passage, three back on the pegs, before obtaining a clear run in the home straight to charge home and get up and defeat Miss Sangrial, who finished fast after racing behind the pacemaker Amelias Courage.

Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan, will start from the inside of the back line and will be strongly fancied as an each-way prospect.

The Colin Brown-trained Amelias Courage cannot be overlooked despite her fading fourth after setting the pace in last week’s prelude. That followed her brilliant victory at her previous outing and she should be prominent from barrier four on the front line.

by Ken Casellas

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