Day At The Track

Machnhope looks to resume success

04:14 AM 02 Apr 2021 NZDT
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Noel Daley, harness racing
Trainer Noel Daley
Mark Hall USTA photo

After watching Machnhope win her first two starts in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for older female harness racing pacers, trainer Noel Daley held the mare out of last week's action. As she prepares to return for Friday's fourth round, Daley is happy with the decision.

Machnhope is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the second of two $35,000 divisions of the Matchmaker at Yonkers Raceway. Ten mares were entered this week, with three of the top-seven in points including unbeaten Alexa Skye sitting out. Blue Ivy, who has a win and two seconds in the series, is the 9-5 favorite in the first division.

"I figured some of the good ones might take this week off, so I took last week off," Daley said. "I think it worked out as the right thing to do. We ended up with two five-horse fields and no Alexa Skye. I'm happy enough with that decision.

"It doesn't work out all the time, but we can look smart occasionally," he added with a laugh.

Machnhope, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three out of Hope For Life, has won three of eight races this year and hit the board on three other occasions, earning $54,765 for owners Daley, Deo Volente Farms, Tom Pontone, and L.A. Express Stable.

Daley's group purchased the mare last July after she spent five months with the trainer following her arrival from Canada, where she had raced most recently for owner-trainer Gary Lance.

Machnhope was an Ontario Grassroots Series champion at age 3. For her career, she has won 29 of 101 starts and $392,044.

"She's a big, strong, good-looking mare," Daley said. "She can be a bit of a cantankerous old thing, but I'm real happy with her. She's done well for the guys that bought into her. They've gotten their money back, so that's good."

Machnhope has raced consistently since the sport returned from last spring's COVID-19 related shutdown. She has started at least twice in every month since then and hit the board in all but four of her past 23 races. She brings a three-race win streak to Friday's Matchmaker start.

"We don't do much with her during the week," Daley said. "She has a bit of a canter and seems to keep herself fresh enough. She looks great and is acting great. She's pretty much the same mare every week. She's just always there.

"Everything will depend on the draw the next several weeks, but this girl has handled the racing pretty well. She should be fine for the next three weeks in a row."

The six-week Blue Chip Matchmaker Series concludes April 19. Following are the top 10 mares in points through three rounds of the series. The top eight will qualify for the final.

1. Alexa Skye 225, 2. Blue Ivy 175, 3. Snobbytown 158, 4. Machnhope 150, 5. Caviart Cherie 135, 6. Seaswift Joy N 125, 7. My Ruebe Star N 113, 8. Siesta Beach 109, 9. Monica Gallagher 95, 10. Maczaffair N 93.

Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) on Friday at Yonkers. For complete entries, click here

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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