By Garrick Knight
James Stormont is hoping his patience will be rewarded in Sunday’s $10,000 Rotorua Pacers Cup on the grass at Arawa Park.
He prepares one of the race favourites, Magilligan Point, who is fresh-up for seven weeks.
“He’s had some hard runs up at Auckland through November; I think three starts in a row he had to come home between 55 and 56 seconds.
“His owner was going away on a holiday, so we decided to miss the last few Auckland meetings before Christmas and freshen him up.”
The son of Gotta Go Cullect hasn’t been seen at the workouts in the interim, which would have been Stormont’s preference, but he’s still delighted with where the horse is at.
“I’m very happy with him; his work has been excellent.
“He hasn’t had a trial, because there haven’t been many and they didn’t really fit in with his training, but I think he’s ready to go anyway.
“The only query is that it’s his first start on the grass but I don’t have any reason to think that will bother him.”
It’s only the speedster’s second standing start, too, the first coming at his last start on December 7 when he finished a close-up fifth behind Some Do.
“He stepped away clean that day that went rough for a few strides and lost ground.”
Stormont reunites with his own horse, Clifton Flutter, in an R47-51 after putting him in amateur drivers’ races for stable staffer Ange Temu in recent weeks.
She got the job done with an excellent win at Cambridge on January 5 and he’s done nothing to dissuade Stormont from thinking he can win again this week.
“I thought his run the next start was even better; he did a heap of work and stuck on well.
“I wasn’t going to back him up but he’s thriving and it made sense to fill the truck up since I was coming down anyway.
“He had an issue with ulcers when I first got him, but that’s been treated and he’s been a different horse since.”
Stormont’s team is rounded out by the debuting maiden trotter, Take The Monarch, in the last on the card.
He’s five, and has been a bit of a project, but he’s getting there, his trainer reckons.
“He’s been in work a long time and we’ve had a lot of problems with him.”
Take The Monarch qualified for now Australian-based trainer Richard Brosnan as a three-year-old in April of 2018 so it has taken plenty of patience on the part of his connections to get to this point.
Stormont wasn’t too sure what to expect from the horse.
“I was going to take to Auckland on Friday night, but then I saw the noms for Rotorua – only seven horses – and it looked a far better option for him.
“I guess we’ll know more after Sunday.”
The day’s feature trot, the $10,000 Rotorua Trotters Cup, is headlined by Pukekohe mare Lovely Bundy, in what is her farewell race.
She’s hunting a hat-trick of wins to round out her career for trainers, Peter and Vaughan Blanchard, and will head to the broodmare paddock next week safely in foal to What The Hill.