Day At The Track

Ohoka Darcy set to end long losing run

03:38 PM 17 May 2018 NZST
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Ohoka Darcy, harness racing
Ohoka Darcy
Gloucester Park Photo

New Zealand-bred harness racing five-year-old Ohoka Darcy is overdue for a change of luck and has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 16 by winning the Milwaukee 18V Fuel Heavy Duty Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

On the surface, this appears to be a bold prediction, taking into account Ohoka Darcy’s 11th placing behind Art Keeper in a 2130m event last Friday night and the fact that he has managed just two placings (thirds) from his past 11 runs but Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey is bullish about the gelding’s winning chances, saying that Ohoka Darcy had been racing without luck in recent outings.

Turvey has engaged champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive Ohoka Darcy. Lewis has driven the gelding only twice for two victories by a half-head and a head in a heat and the final of the Kersley Pace at Gloucester Park last November.

“Ohoka Darcy is going good, but he hasn’t had any luck at all of late,” said Turvey. “So, he will be driven aggressively this week. The main danger is Risk, who has drawn nine and we’ve drawn six. I reckon we should get to the breeze and keep it. He’s got a really good record from the breeze and Chris has a perfect record with him.”

Ohoka Darcy started out wide at barrier nine last Friday night when he was restrained to the rear. He raced in last position and was hampered for room in the final lap when 11th behind Art Keeper. A week earlier, Ohoka Darcy started from barrier four and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back before finishing a well-beaten fourth behind Whozideawasthis, who sprinted over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.2sec.

Ohoka Darcy has the credentials to be a good winner. He is by Courage Under Fire and is a full-brother to Lanercost, wo raced 45 times for 30 wins and nine placings for stakes of $509,121. Lanercost’s victories included the Australian Derby in Launceston and the Tasmanian Derby in Hobart in March 2010 and the Chariots of Fire at Menangle in April 2011.

Risk, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for Forrestdale trainer Skye Bond, is a strong stayer and is expected to be a short-priced favourite. He started from barrier nine in a 1730m sprint last Friday week when he was restrained to the rear at the start. He raced wide in the final circuit and finished eighth behind the pacemaking Our Zack Whitby.

A week earlier Risk gave a powerful performance to win easily from Campora over 2536m. He began speedily from barrier seven but was unable to wrestle the lead from the polemarker Luis Alberto. He then raced in the breeze before charging to the front 350m from home and scoring in effortless fashion.

Turvey is also optimistic about the chances of Dana Duke in the 2130m Alltools, The Name Says It All Pace. Turvey has engaged Deni Roberts to drive Dana Duke and with her claim as a junior driver, the seven-year-old has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line.

Dana Duke extended his losing sequence to 11 when he started at 6/4 on and led from barrier two in a 1730m event and wilted in the final stages to finish a close third to Ideal Tyson (who rated 1.52.8) and Chal Storm. The pace was a cracker and the 400m sections of the final mile whizzed by in 28.3sec., 28.6sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec.

Dana Duke drops considerably in class this week and Turvey said that the gelding would appreciate contesting a race without Ideal Tyson as a rival.

“Dana Duke has good gate speed and he likes to bowl along,” Turvey said. “If he gets caught in the breeze he’s likely to over race and drive everyone mad. However, I anticipate him getting to the front and he hasn’t been beaten too many times when he has set the pace.”

Ken Casellas

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