Hope springs eter­nal

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING - MATT JONES

HO­TEL Drive beat Hope Is­land when they clashed a fort­night ago but the re­sult could be very dif­fer­ent when they go head-to-head again in the Open Hand­i­cap (1200m).

Hope Is­land fin­ished fifth that day while Ho­tel Drive was sec­ond to the classy Fabry.

But Daniel Bowen’s horse was held up for a long way and ap­peared to be coast­ing down the home straight and was right be­hind Ho­tel Drive at the fin­ish, unable to show his true form.

“It was luck­less but that’s rac­ing,” Bowen said. “He needed to get clear at the top of the straight but he couldn’t and if he did I think he would have fin­ished sec­ond.”

Hope Is­land is one of the true iron horses of Aus­tralian rac­ing.

He’s hav­ing his 13th start this year to­day and it will be his 19th since a six-week freshen up.

Be­fore that, he had 14 starts af­ter a four-week freshen up and hasn’t had a full spell since late 2016.

And his last start cer­tainly showed he’s lov­ing his rac­ing and tak­ing his ear muffs off has helped greatly.

“He was get­ting to the sort of grade where I knew I had to find a length or two for him and I was want­ing to take them off for months but was wait­ing for the right type of race where there was go­ing to be tempo,” Bowen said.

“He has seemed to have found a few more lengths with them off.

“He used to get back a lot but now with the ear muffs off he should be able to race hand­ier and make his own luck.”

The plan will be sim­i­lar to his last start but con­nec­tions just want even luck this time.

“There looks like there will be a fair bit of pace in the race with La Dolce Vita and that will help,” Bowen said.

“If he gets a nice run, he might be able to fin­ish off over the top of them.”

Ho­tel Drive’s trainer Scott Hen­ley said he couldn’t be any hap­pier with his horse head­ing into the race know­ing he’ll be in front of Hope Is­land en­ter­ing the straight.

“He’s go­ing to be hard to beat but it’s a re­ally good race with a cou­ple of handy ones in it,” he said.

“He’ll be mak­ing his own luck on the speed, sec­ond or third.

“His run was good the other day be­hind God­bolt’s horse (Fabry) for the sim­ple rea­son that they ran 36 sec­onds for the first 600m and came home in 33 sec­onds.”

Hen­ley said his horse would have raced bet­ter last time as well if he was able to get go­ing sooner and make a longer run to the line.

“He got held up and he had to sit and wait. When he did get go­ing the race was all over but he’s improved off that run and is fully fit now,” he said.

Anne Bonny makes her re­turn to rac­ing against Ho­tel Drive and Hope Is­land and, while trainer Owen Glus said she’ll run a “bot­tler”, he ex­pects her to be bet­ter sec­ond-up.

Quean­beyan’s Joe Cleary has just the one run­ner at Mur­willum­bah and that’s a tip in it­self.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.