By Jonny Turner
One Apollo has a crucial advantage over his main rivals going in to the group 3 D G Jones Memorial Trotting Cup, he just needs to take advantage of it.
The Brent White trained trotter will clash with again with Heavyweight Hero, Pres The Belle and Woodstone after beating them home in Sundees Son’s Ordeal Trotting Cup victory at Addington a fortnight ago.
Though Sundees Son and runner-up Majestic Man cleared out in front of One Apollo, White was more than happy with his horse’s effort for driver Ricky May.
“When they really went down the back he got caught a little bit flat footed,” the trainer said.
“So, Ricky probably nursed him a bit more, being his first time against those real good ones.”
“He still hit the line and he didn’t get knocked around at all – there are a few more nice races coming up for him.”
One Apollo gets a 10m headstart in his quest to try to beat the trio he downed in his last start in Sunday’s 2810m feature.
But the 5yr-old must step away well or he might as well be starting on the back mark with them.
“He has got to step first,” White said.
“If he gets away cleanly Ricky has got to be a bit positive and then he can make his mind up about what he wants to do after that.”
With a strong record of three placings from five starts on grass and confidence from White that his horse should see out a strong 2810m, Sunday’s race looks an ideal opportunity for One Apollo.
The early favourite for the race and One Apollo’s main rival, Heavyweight Hero, brings an even more impressive grass track record to the D G Jones Memorial Trotting Cup.
The trotter will look to quickly move on from a rare early gallop in the Ordeal Trotting Cup and add to his three wins that have come in just four starts on turf.
Pres The Belle is in a similar position to Heavyweight Hero.
The usually reliable mare, who has had two starts on grass for a win and a placing, will be out to turnaround the rare mistake she made when breaking late in the Ordeal Trotting Cup.
White also starts Rogie Falls in race 5 Cranbourne in race 8 on Sunday.
Cranbourne will step out for the first time this season with the benefit of one Ashburton trial under his belt.
The 4yr-old went to the line untested by driver Stephen McNally in the heat on a slick 26.5sec last 400m.
“The blinds were still in the gear bag at home and the plugs were still in,” White said.
“Stephen was more than happy with him.”
His trial effort may suggest Cranbourne has thrived since his last start at Invercargill in March.
But it has not all been smooth sailing for the horse since then.
“He came up good and then he got a wee bit crook and his bloods were out,” White said.
“But, I have been really happy with him since then.”
“He has got a good bunch of owners, so I hope he does a good job.”
Ben Laughton drives Cranbourne in Sunday’s junior driver’s event.
Rogie Falls has raced consistently in his five starts since lockdown.
But the trotter would have gone even better if he had been able to show racing fans the potential he shows White at home.
“He works unbelievable, but then he misses away or gets a bad runs or decides not to quite put in 100%.”
“He can trot and he is one of those horses that when he wins one, he will win two or three in a row real quick.”
Stephen McNally drives Rogie Falls on Sunday.