By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
South Auckland trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett were hoping they would be cheering home stable trotter Temporale in the Group One Majestic Son Dominion (3200m) at Addington Raceway on Friday, but instead their attention will be solely on Alexandra Park.
The dual Group One winner was struck down by a bug when campaigning in Canterbury ahead of Friday’s feature trot and his trainers are now waiting for him to improve before he can travel back to their Waiuku property.
“Temporale got crook down in the South Island and the vets are not letting him travel home just yet,” Wallis said. “Hopefully he will be home soon.”
The eight-year-old gelding finished sixth in the Group Three Ashburton Flying Mile (1609m) last month, his only southern appearance this preparation, and Wallis wasn’t pleased with his performance.
“I was disappointed with his run at Ashburton,” she said. “Even though he didn’t get around the bends, once he straightened up I thought he could at least stick with them or finish on a bit better.
“But who knows, he might have been suffering from something there as well.
“I worked him on the Saturday after Ashburton and I wasn’t happy with him.”
Wallis is hoping Temporale can head home in the coming days and start preparing for feature northern trotting fixtures over the Christmas-New Year period.
“As soon as we can get him back up here and he is right we will be pressing on with him,” Wallis said.
“If he is not back by the end of this weekend we are probably flat tack getting to the Lyell Creek, but he loves Cambridge, so there is Christmas Eve, and the National.
“He will go back into work as soon as he possibly can and he won’t have lost a lot of fitness.”
A stablemate that could be joining him in those northern features is stable debutant King’s Landing.
The regally-bred Group One performer will be one of nine runners for Wallis and Hackett at Alexandra Park on Friday and they are looking forward to seeing how King’s Landing performs fresh-up in the Hydroflow Handicap Trot (2200m).
The son of Group One-winning mare Pocaro will have his work cut out for him from the 40m mark, but Wallis said if he puts in a good showing, feature races are in the offing for the six-year-old.
“We have given him a couple of trials and he has trialled really nice,” Wallis said.
“He has handled the right-handed way of going, but 40m over 2200m is going to be pretty tough.
“I expect a nice run from him but I don’t think he is a winning chance. He shouldn’t be far away.
“If he comes up good enough we will look at the Lyell Creek Stakes in a month and then the National, but he will tell us whether he is up to them or not.”
King’s Landing will be joined on Friday by stablemate Invictus who Wallis believes is a good chance off the 10m mark.
“Invictus is a lovely little horse,” she said. “2200m is his pet distance and he is probably more of a winning chance than King’s Landing.”
Wallis and Hackett will have a three-pronged attack in the Franklin Long Roofing Trot (2200m) with Emma Frost, Rain Mist And Muscle, and Sunny Petite.
“Although their form is different, there is not a lot between them,” Wallis said.
“Sunny Petite trialled really well on Saturday. She led and won her trial and beat Tobruk. If she does things right she is a good chance.
“Emma Frost needs luck. She is a sit and sprinter which is a bit the same with Rain Mist And Muscle, but she has gone well over 2200m.
“All three of them are chances and I couldn’t really split them. It depends on who gets the best run and if Sunny Petite brings her manners.”
Errol D and Special Way will make their raceday debut in the Auckland Cup & National Trot Noms Close 4 December Trot (2200m) and Wallis said it will be more of an educational outing for the pair.
“They are probably just runners chances,” Wallis said. “They have been trialling okay, but they have got to step out on raceday at some stage so we decided this week would be it.
“It will be a big learning curve for those two.”
Wallis believes Tobruk is one of the stable’s better chances on Friday when he lines-up in the Dunstan Speedfeed Summer Series Trot (2200m).
“Tobruk trialled really nicely last Saturday,” she said. “I think he should go quite close to winning, he will definitely be in the first three anyway.”
Friday will also be an anomaly for Wallis and Hackett who will line-up their first pacer this season when Bliztembye makes his debut in the Christmas Drag Bingo 3 Dec At ‘The Alex’ Mobile Pace (2200m).
“I love the trotters,” Wallis said. “There is a bit of skill involved in getting the shoeing right. It just panned out that way (that the stable focussed on trotters).
“The pacers that we got were everyone else’s castoffs and we could get some nice, young trotters coming through so we decided to branch that way.”
Wallis is looking forward to the race but said she thinks she put the mocker on him drawing the outside of the front-row for Friday.
“I put the hoodoo on him because he has drawn one in every workout and qualifying trial. I said he has used up all of his luck at the workouts and sure enough he has drawn eight,” Wallis quipped.
“He gets a bit keen out of the gate so it might take Todd (Mitchell, driver) a little bit to get him back and he will probably have to drive him for luck out there.”