By Garrick Knight
Michael House has issued a stern warning to punters ahead of today’s first meeting of the new Manawatu season.
Don’t expect a lot.
“I’ve had a change of heart and didn’t take the third truck up,” he told HRNZ.
“There’s only a couple there that can win, I think – the rest are pretty average horses.
“I’ve saved the ones that were really working well for Kaikoura next week.
“The way the nominations ended up, there was no point sending another eight horses and racing ourselves.
“This trip will be to give everyone else a chance to get the jump on us.”
That’s not to say he doesn’t expect to win at least two of the seven races. He did send 17 horses to the meeting after all.
Sundons Flyer is a class above the field she meets in the day’s only trot and a 40-metre handicap shouldn’t stop her.
“She should go close.
“We sent her up there because it’s a free win with a junior driver and that’s why Alicia (Harrison) is on her.
“The plan will be to win both days and then it’s like she’s won an $18,000 race.”
House credits the mare’s usual trainer and part-owner, Bruce Negus, for the move.
“It was all his idea; he came to me with the plan and I liked it.
“I do keep saying to people that’s not just me doing this, I am always getting calls floating different ideas.
“I’m really just the logistics manager.”
Champion driver Blair Orange has made the trip again today and House says do not read too much in to his allocations today, but more so on Thursday.
“He wouldn’t have even known what I put him on until he arrived this morning.
“There’s various relationships to factor in when I made the driving decisions and he could easily get beaten by other horses of ours.
“He’ll have the pick on the second day and that’s when you should pay attention to what he is driving.”
Of the other 16 horses, House has engaged, he points to Voodoo Prince, Fancy Schmancy and newcomer Jessie Kelly as the best of them.
“If Voodoo Prince wasn’t drawn one, he would win by five lengths. But he’s at risk of being crossed by Jay Abernethy and Peter Forsberg early.
“He’s really well and if he can keep himself out of trouble, he should win.
“Steven Reid (northern stable trainer) told me Fancy Schmancy should win.
“She over-raced last time so will be seeing plenty of the track in the open this time.
“And Jessie Kelly is a good chance in the last; her track work’s been quite nice.
“Steve Telfer has a couple of handy ones in there that could make things difficult though.”