By Michael Guerin
The Michelle Wallis/Bernie Hackett team took a huge leap forward to a big milestone with a four-win bag at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
But Wallis says the haul isn’t indicative of their stable being as strong as some times in recent years, more the right horses being in the right races.
The wife and husband team won with three trotters, Rain Mist And Muscle, Invictus and Special Way as well as three-year-old pacer Blitzembye to take them to 199 career wins as a partnership in New Zealand.
It is not the first time they have trained four winners on a night at Alexandra Park but Wallis says it is a nice boost.
“We haven’t had the strongest season wins-wise yet,” says Wallis, with the four wins more than doubling their tally to seven for the season so far.
“We have about 20 in work but these horses fell into the right races for them and there were also some great drives, particularly from Todd (Mitchell).” Mitchell started the four-for with a beautifully-time late dab on Rain Mist And Muscle, who may not be long for New Zealand.
“Duncan McPherson from Aldebaran Park bought her predominantly as a broodmare prospect but wanted to pick up a win or two here before she goes across to Australia,” says Wallis.
Invictus’s manners allow him to scoot over 2200m like a good horse and that was the case again, the leaders running the more favoured backmarkers off the hooves again in the main trot.
He is headed for open class and Wallis says when there he will be most competitive over the sprint trips.
Special Way has come to the stable from breeder Bernie Lim and been given time but looks better than the one-win horse he now finds himself while runner-up Errol D is also bound for better things but will be given a spell.
“He is still a bit weak so time will help him,” says Wallis of the four-year-old who was bred, as his name suggests, by the late Errol Downey.
Blitzembye is the stable’s first pacing winner for the season and while he has plenty to learn he looks a prospect.
“He has a lovely way of going and even though he doesn’t know much he found under pressure,” says Wallis.
The stable star Temporale is back working after things didn’t go right during his southern campaign with Wallis and Hackett having not given up on the former Rowe Cup winner making it to the National Trot, one of the potential highlights of the summer, on New Year’s Eve at Alexandra Park.