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Best bet: Sole Ambition (R3, No.3): Got lost on home bend at Cambridge last week and stormed home. Should atone.
Go Again: Flying Steps (R6, No.1): Was the mare who got the winning break on Sole Ambition last week. Has the gate speed to use the ace.
Trials stars: Henry Hu (R8., No.1): Jogged last 800m in 57.6 seconds to win at Pukekohe workouts last Saturday and showed some gate speed.
By Michael Guerin
A total reboot of the Steve Telfer stable could make it one for harness punters to follow in the next month, starting at Alexandra Park tonight.
Telfer has three hopes in the major handicap pace tonight and one of the bets of the night earlier in Flying Steps (race six) as he attempts to embellish his strong winter record in recent seasons.
Telfer has long seen the logic of attacking winter racing at Alexandra Park, especially now the stakes are almost as lucrative as in the summer.
But that attitude had to be shelved this year when his team was struck down with the same virus which has affected some of the north’s bigger stables in recent months.
“We had a bug go through the team that probably 80 per cent of them got,” said Telfer.
“So we just left them all alone, let them have a total rest for 10-14 days and that worked the trick.
“It was frustrating but it worked and there seem to be no lingering effects with any of them.”
None were obvious when Flying Steps, a mare involved in a horrific fall last December, was an impressive winner at Cambridge last Thursday.
“She won well and should be even better this week,” says Telfer.
“Her work was good on Wednesday and I am sure she has improved.” Telfer takes three to the $25,000 handicap tonight, including Dance Time who is back from a useful campaign with Menangle trainer John McCarthy.
It is not the first time Telfer has sent horses to different trainers depending on what suits them at certain stages of his career, something he did with recently-retired stable star No Doctor Needed.
But while Dance Time has returned looking well Telfer opts for backmarker Check In as the best of his three hopes in the 2700m standing start.
“It is never easy to win off 30m but he is a good standing start horse and working well,” says Telfer.
“I think both Dance Time and Ivana Flybye will improve with the race this week so Check In would be our best hope.” Tonight’s meeting has a $40,000 Pick6 and plenty of maiden depth and a good intermediate trot.