by Jonny Turner
What happens in the split seconds after the tapes fly could decide whether Homebush Lad adds the Waimate Cup to his outstanding grass track resume.
The Greg and Nina Hope trained veteran starts from the back mark of 45m in the 3000m grass track feature at Oamaru.
Clearly the kind of beginning Homebush Lad can make from his handicap will have a huge impact on his chances.
Settling in front of key rivals, who also start from handicap marks, will be the key to whether Homebush Lad can take them down according to driver Ben Hope.
“He can definitely win it, but I think we will need a couple of things to go our way from 45m,” Hope said.
“Say if we were to make a flier and a couple of the others bobble away.”
“It is a tough mark, so a lot will depend on how the race pans out.”
“If we can get a decent drag into it, he has proven how good he can be in these kind of races.”
“And he is definitely in a good space at the moment.”
His 45m handicap means Homebush Lad will have to give classy pacers Better’s Tart (35m), Get Up N Dance (35m) and She’s Tough (20m) a head-start in Sunday’s feature.
Blue Rock Dancer looks one of the biggest winning threats among the Hope team on Sunday.
The five-year-old brings excellent form and again brings vitally important manners to his 2000m standing start assignment in race 6.
“He would have to go close,” Hope said.
“Kingstown Atom has been going great and you have to respect him.”
“But I would like to think our horse is as good as anything in the race.”
The Hope stable also lines up Mossdale Terry for the second time this week at Oamaru.
If the pacer brought his trial form he would be hard to beat in race 11.
“He was a little bit disappointing at Addington on Wednesday, but the wet track first up might not have been ideal.”
“He would have to improve off that, but is an easier field and you would like to think he would go close.”
Hope describes Krystal Delight as far from the worst chance in race 7.
The junior driver also combines with Anna’s Boy who faces a step up in class in race 10 after producing back-to-back wins in lower grades recently.