The un­happy favourite: Sin­tra gets out­side post

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - Hjhowe@rogers.com

Dave Me­nary has the morn­ing line favourite for the $176,000 Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup fi­nal Sun­day, but is not happy.

De­spite win­ning his elim­i­na­tion heat a week ago, Sin­tra will be hin­dered by the out­side eight post po­si­tion. On a half-mile track like Flam­boro Downs, that is like a death sen­tence.

“I be­lieve in the idea that you earn your post po­si­tion. There were two elim­i­na­tion win­ners from last week who should draw for the right to pick their posts,” he says.

“But the rules for the Cup make it an open draw so if one is un­lucky, we were, post eight is ours.

“What in­cen­tive is there to win an elim­i­na­tion when as long as you just qual­ify your chance of get­ting a good post for the fi­nal ex­ists?

“It sure is not the purse money be­cause the elim­i­na­tions of­fer only $20,000 purses. And I think earned posts make for more ex­cit­ing rac­ing.”

That aside, the Rock­wood horse- man still has maybe the best fouryear-old pacer in North Amer­ica. The horse has won all three of his starts this year but more im­por­tantly looks like an in­tim­i­dat­ing pres­ence.

“I was very happy with him last year win­ning half of all his starts de­spite hav­ing to face Bet­ting Line (Cana­dian Horse of the Year) so of­ten. He had just 16 starts which I felt left him very good phys­i­cally and was very hope­ful about this year,” he of­fered from Stephen­son’s Train­ing Cen­tre near Copetown where he is based.

“I could not be hap­pier the way he has come back. He’s not a big horse but beau­ti­ful bod­ied, pow­er­ful and just the right size. He’s just a notch below a big horse in size and very much takes care of him­self. One of those in­tel­li­gent ones who didn’t lose 50 pounds of weight from last year’s sea­son. There is just noth­ing to com­plain about.”

Last year, the horse won $294,000 for owners Brad Gray of Dun­das, Bramp­ton’s Mike Guer­riero and Me­nary. In to­tal, there is $352,000 in the till since be­ing pur­chased as a year­ling for a mere $22,000.

If there is a spoiler for Me­nary, it might be Check Six driven by Louis Phillipe Roy, the hot, young sen­sa­tion in the On­tario driv­ing ranks who can­not seem to do any­thing wrong th­ese days. Roy has yet to win a sig­nif­i­cant race in his ca­reer and the Cup might be the first.

This horse had a tough trip last week to be just beaten so he is noth­ing to fool with in the fi­nal. Trainer Ron Burke did not earn $1 mil­lion last sea­son with him by just show­ing up.

Last sea­son was Me­nary’s poor­est since 2009 so he is look­ing for a re­bound per­for­mance in 2017. With Flam­boro Downs right around the cor­ner from his sta­ble, it is as good place as any to get things rolling.

HAROLD HOWE

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