By Garrick Knight
Pukekohe mare Best Western is booked to fly to Christchurch next week for two black-type features but first she’ll head to Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Her trainer, Jeremy Young, says last season’s Northern Oaks winner is nearing “cherry-ripe” status.
“I’m happy with her; she’s working really well and seems very bright,” he said.
“I want to have her cherry-ripe for the two Addington races, but she’s pretty close to the mark.”
Best Western was an unlucky fourth last week after being held up before the passing lane when trailing a tiring leader.
“She just got held up a little bit and there was a very slight snotty nose after the race.
“But that’s cleared up now and isn’t a concern.
“It had been 17 days since her New Years’ Eve run and I feel like last week has sharpened her up even more.”
Complicating matters this week is a wide draw plus the fact her stablemate, On A Roll, is in the same race and has drawn decidedly better.
“The stablemate will be going forward so I guess that means we’ll have to look to go back with Best Western.”
On A Roll has been a bit of a surprise package for Young since coming north in the early spring.
She was effectively ‘sacked’ by previous trainers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, and arrived at Young’s with no great ambitions.
“When we first got her up here from Mark’s, I thought she would be a C2 or C3 horse, maybe.
“If we were lucky, we’d be able to get a bit of money for the owners.
“But she ran second to Lulu Le Mans, then won one, and then placed a few more times.
“So, I threw her in the Group races before Christmas against the best fillies and I thought the second run, especially, was excellent.
“She was four-wide down the back and had no right to run fifth, but still battled on well.”
It also gave Young and driver, Sailesh Abernethy, an insight in to how she is best driven.
“Sailesh and I thought we’d try something different last week and let her roll along in front.”
The result? A five-length win in a sensational 2.39.4 (1.56.6 MR).
“She’s a funny horse in that she won’t outsprint anything, you’ve got to let her run the whole way.
“I had Stylish Memphis here at the same time and she would beat On A Roll off her back every time because she had so much speed.
“On A Roll is better off leading and rolling along or even sitting parked, so that’s how we intend to drive her this week and in the future.
The Oaks races are now firmly in the plans for On A Roll.
Rounding out Young’s team this week is Tommy Tukaa, who returns to Alexandra Park from back-to-back wins at Cambridge over the holiday period.
“I know he only won at Cambridge, but I think he’s an ‘Auckland horse’ all the same.
“Those wins will have given him a bit of confidence and his work has been a lot better since.
“The draw is awkward this week but I would expect, just being on the fence the whole way, that he should be able to run in the first three.”