By Jonny Turner
Dunedin pacer Celebrating prefers wide open spaces to the confines of the city, which will provide his biggest challenge ahead of tomorrow’s Ascot Park meeting.
The 3yr-old will start on a 1000m track for the first time in his career when he returns to racing for the first time since producing a head-turning win at Wingatui in March.
Celebrating showed his class when a back straight gallop costing 10 lengths was not enough to stop him going on for a huge maiden victory on grass.
The pacer’s mid-race antics and his prior start at Wyndham, where he took no part after breaking soon after the start, show he is far from a complete racehorse.
Anderson prepared Celebrating’s half-brother, Terrorway, to win six wins from six starts in New Zealand before the horse went on to win group 1 races in Australia.
The trainer said the pair are strikingly similar.
“Celebrating is just like Terrorway,” Anderson said.
“They are horses you just can’t put pressure on early.”
“That is why Terrorway didn’t start racing until he was 4yrs-old on a big track like Cromwell.”
“Celebrating has actually surprised me that he is racing a bit earlier.”
“He has probably got a little bit more speed than Terrorway.”
“On ability, he is a very nice horse.”
Anderson anticipates Celebrating will stay within his gait when he starts from the unruly for driver Matthew Williamson in race 4.
It is how awkward the pacer is on the tight Ascot Park turns and how much momentum they will take out of him that the trainer expects to define the 3yr-old’s winning chances.
“It is just going to be how he handles the bends and how awkward he is going to be,” Anderson said.
“He gets his head around and even though he will have a murphy blind he could still be a bit awkward.”
Anderson and Williamson also combine with Da Moons Mission in race 8.
The trainer thinks the event’s 2200m standing start conditions are ideal for the 4yr-old.
“He was going to race last week, but he had a bit of a setback with a foot problem.”
“This looks his race if he does everything right.”
“He is fit and well and I am pretty happy with him.”
Anderson had Wolf West fit and ready to resume when the 5yr-old ran to a three and a half-length victory for Williamson at Ascot Park last weekend.
The pacer faces a much different kind of challenge from barrier 1 in race 6 tomorrow.
“It is a totally different kind of race this week.”
“It all depends how he gets out of the gate.”
“If he can hold the front from 1 that would be ideal, because he needs to be out there rolling along.”
“He doesn’t have the speed to be coming from behind.”
Williamson has opted to drive Wolf West ahead of his rival, Stingray Tara, who ran third at Ascot Park last weekend