By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Graeme Anderson got a bit of a surprise when he saw the nominations for the Woodlands Stud NZ Sires’ Stakes Series (Heat 1) Mobile Pace (1980m) earlier in the week.
The Westwood Beach trainer has targeted Friday’s race at Addington Raceway with in-form pacer American Lightning who will be met by two of the country’s most exciting three-year-old’s – Krug and It’s All About Faith.
Krug won the Listed Harness Million 1 C & G Final (2200m) and finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Sires’ Stakes Final (1700m) at Alexandra Park last month, while It’s All About Faith placed in both races.
Anderson thought both horses may bypass the opening heat of the series to recuperate from their northern campaign, however, their trainers had a different idea.
“We thought that they wouldn’t be in it,” said Anderson, who trains in partnership with Mike Love.
“We thought they might have had a bit of a rest when they came back from Auckland and it would be a nice heat to go into. We made a mistake there because the other trainers haven’t read my thoughts.”
While Krug and It’s All About Faith look to be the main dangers in the race, it is American Lightning who takes a picket fence form line into Thursday night, having won five of his six starts and placed in the Gr.3 Kindergarten Stakes (1609m) on debut in March.
Anderson has been pleased with the way his colt has been performing but said the son of American Ideal will face his stiffest task on Thursday.
“He has been placed where he can win, but Thursday night is a completely different kettle of fish,” Anderson said. “It’s up in grade, but he deserves his chance to have a look.
“He is very well. He has improved a lot since his run last week.”
Anderson has made a gear change ahead of Thursday in a bid to boost his charge’s chances.
“We have gone for some pulldown blinds to try and sharpen him up,” he said.
“In his races he just does what he has to and is a pretty laidback character. He won’t want to be too laidback on Thursday.
“It is going to be a difficult race for him and it’s very hard to see him beating those two horses, but we would just like to see him go a good race and then we can make a decision after that what he does. Whether we continue to the Sires Stakes or keep him local.”
Meanwhile, Anderson is looking forward to the imminent return of speedy four-year-old Spirit Of St Loius.
“He has had a bit of a throat issue. It’s not a breathing issue, he has just been a bit crook,” Anderson said.
“We have treated that and his work has been great this week.
“We are going to trial him on Friday and then we will look for a race. We are happy with him, he is getting back to what he used to be like.
“There might be a race for him at Addington next week. The main thing is just to get him back and then we will make some bigger decisions once we get him back.”
Anderson is rapt to have the two quality pacers in his barn and he is looking forward to what the future holds for both horses.
“It’s great to have some nice horses about,” he said. “It makes it easier to get up in these cold mornings, but there is no more easy racing for them. They have got to front up now to the big boys.”