Day At The Track

One step closer to Jewels crowning

06:54 PM 29 May 2017 NZST
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Gentleman Sir
HRNZ photo

Gentleman Sir enhanced his chances of a 2017 Jewels crown with a courageous win at Alexandra Park last Friday night.

But his Kumeu 65-year-old trainer, Lew Driver, like most of us watching, thought the 4-year-old had blown his chances soon after the start of the $14,999 Garrards Horse & Hound R60 to R97 Trot.

"I thought, ‘oh no I've booked his tickets and he’s going no good’. What am I doing am I taking him south? But those thoughts went in and out of my head very quickly. When David (Butcher) got him down after a few bobbles I thought ‘yes he can get around them and win this’.

"I think the horse just suffered from a 'momentary lapse of reason'. That's the third time he has broken in his career, but David said he's really coming to it nicely. He said he was peaking at just the right time and he hadn’t seen him trot so fluent, once his mistake was behind him," Driver said.

"If Saturday's Jewels Final was a stand I'd have my reservations, but after Friday's run, and now that he's drawn three in a mobile mile, he can give that even field a real shake," he added.

Gentleman Sir opened up as a $13 favourite to win this Saturday's Group One $150,000 McMillan Feeds 4-year-old Ruby Trot.

The Love You-Tip Your Hat Loui (by Continentalman) gelding is now the $14-sixth favourite behind Dark Horse ($2.50), Wilma's Mate ($4), Marcoola ($4.50), and Temporale and Lemond who are both at $7.20.

Driver believed one of six or seven horses could win the race, with the trip to suit.

"I can see why Dark Horse is favourite because he has got a lot of speed, but you can't discount Lemond, Temporale or Paul Nairn’s one either (Wilma’s Mate).

“Actually they have all qualified for the final and any one of them, with the run, can win it. That includes us. My fella has got a bit of ability and we have yet to see the best of him.

“His win on Friday impressed me. He's the best horse, and certainly the best drawn horse I've had in a Jewels Final," said Driver.

"David might have said he’s trotting in career-best form, but he has still got a wee way to go to be the best trotter I have trained. Triffid (eight wins) finished fourth in a Rowe Cup and was an open class trotter.

"Sadly he died of a heart attack when he was leading by six lengths at the Cambridge Trials (October 2001). He was special.”

Gentleman Sir was startled by the starting tapes and added another 15 metres to his 10m handicap on Friday. Butcher settled him at the back of the field and they were second last (three-back on the outer) at the bell.

Then just prior to the home turn Butcher followed eventual runner-up Yagunnakissmeornot and Jack MacKinnon out of the one-one. Then in the lane they wound down Yagunnakissmeornot in the last 25 metres to win by half a length.

The Love You gelding trotted the 2700m stand in 3:29.2 (mile rate 2:04.5) and came home in 59.4 and 28.9.

It was the bay's fourth win in 10 starts. He's also placed four times since winning on debut at Cambridge Raceway on January 13. Gentleman Sir was the $2.60 favourite.

Driver said his horse had come through Friday's race in good fashion.

"He's pulled up real well and his legs are nice and cool and he's eaten up everything. He will fly out early on Tuesday morning and Mark Smolenski will house both of us.

"I'm grateful for that and Mark said he was delighted to have the horse back at his property again after he spent his early prep there.

“Mark qualified him in early November and then he came up here. After the Jewels he will be spelled at Rosie Trevaris' agistment farm in Burnham," Driver said.

Six horses will board that 4am Tuesday flight - one of which will be fellow Alexandra Park winner from Friday - Gotta Go Dali Queen.

The Dali - Gotta Go Harmony filly was the only stater from The Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins stable and she obliged as a $9.40 fourth favourite in the seventh event.

Maurice McKendry sat patiently with the 3-year-old in the trail and then in the passing lane the bay out-sprinted favourite Alta Intrigue (Zac Butcher) by three-quarters-of-a length in 2:01.5 for the 1700m mobile.

Gotta Go Dali Queen has drawn two in Saturday's 3-year-old Diamond Pace and with a last half of 55 seconds even on Friday she must rate at least a place chance against Spanish Armada and company.

Zac Butcher might have finished second in that$14,999 R76 to R97 trot, but he did provide the individual highlight of the night.

The gifted 25-year-old drove four winners one the 10-race card. They were:

The Ray Green trained $3 favourite - King Of Swing (race 2); the Peter and Vaughan Blanchard trained $4.40 second favourite - Lovely Bundy (race 3); the Steven Reid trained $4.50 second favourite - Pleasurable (race 5); and the Barry Purdon trained $9.10 third favourite - Maheer Magic (race 9).

Meanwhile, Waikato reinswoman, Megan Teaz, notched up her first driving success of the season when sitting parked and winning behind One Bid Buys in the first event – the $8,000 Reharvest Mobile for the Up to R47 maiden trotters..

It was 364 days since her last win when In Full Flight won for Teaz and her husband Jason at Alexandra Park on May 27 last year.

The Ohaupo reinswoman, and Mum, has now driven 18 winners from 363 starters since getting her driver’s licence in 2008.

The Teaz husband and wife training duo have now conditioned 21 winners from 220 starters since 2011.


Duane Ranger

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