The unhappy favourite: Sintra gets outside post
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.