Months of careful planning will turn into excitement at Alexandra Park on Friday night when Kentuckiana Lodge rolls out three horses in New Zealand’s first two-year-old races of the season.
After careful study of the sales catalogue, inspecting hundreds of yearlings, bidding, buying and then preparing their purchases for racing, Cran and Chrissie Dalgety can not wait to see their exciting juveniles in action.
“It is an exciting time,” Cran said.
“We have come north with three lovely horses who are the first cabs off the rank in what we think is a smart team of two-year-olds.
“They’ve travelled well and trialled up well and now they are ready to do battle.”
“We can’t wait.”
Casino Action will get the ball rolling for the Kentuckiana Lodge team, taking on his fellow two-year-old colts and geldings over 1700m.
The Bettor’s Delight colt trialled nicely at Pukekohe last week, finishing hard on the back of one of his rivals after settling at the rear of the field throughout.
“We were really pleased with him, he was back last and the leaders ran home in 27.8sec (400m),” Cran said.
“He wasn’t going to make up any ground from there, but he just sat in behind them and went to the line nice without being asked anything extra.”
“That was exactly what we were looking for going into Friday night, really.”
“He handled the right-handed track and the run has helped tighten him up.”
“He came up north looking a bit pretty and a bit overweight, he has trimmed down now and he is looking like a real racehorse.”
Casino Action should get every chance to show what kind of opinion Cran and Chrissie have of him from barrier 4.
“He is fit and well and I am sure he will run a good race.”
“There are supposed to be a couple of smarties in it, but we won’t know how good they are until Friday night.”
“We have our fellow in the above-average category and he will give them plenty to think about.”
Kentuckiana Lodge’s Chevrons Bypass and Misti Gaynor go head to head over 1700m in the two-year-old fillies event on Friday night.
Chevron’s Bypass has been the massive improver in the Kentuckiana two-year-old team as seen in her excellent two-length win at the Pukekohe trials.
“As I have said before she has just been a very relaxed filly all of the way through.”
“And now she is starting to wake up and cotton on to what the game is all about.”
“She trialled very nice last week and we were rapt with her.”
Misti Gaynor has been a consistent performer in her trials and workouts leading into her debut.
She finished close up in third in her hit-out at Pukekohe last week, not being asked for a full effort.
Misti Gaynor starts in barrier 5 outside Chevrons Bypass, who has gate 4.
“Misti Gaynor trialled up well last week and we were pleased with her.”
“I would hate to split them really, they are two lovely fillies.”
“They are different types but there isn’t much between them and they are drawn beside each other.”
“They should both give a good account of themselves.”
Todd Mitchell steps in to take the reins behind Misti Gaynor and Casino Royal on Friday night.
“He is an in-form man up here, we go back many sleeps and have had a lot of wins together in the past.”
“Hopefully we can take advantage while Toddy is running hot.”
Maurice McKendry drives Chevrons Bypass.
Tony Herlihy will take the reins behind Fortunia in his North Island debut.
The four-year-old has joined the Kentuckiana Lodge two-year-olds on their trip north in the hope his owner David Archer see him winning close to home.
The pacer’s work suggests that is a decent chance of happening on Friday night.
“His form doesn’t look good, but last start he started hot favourite and he hung like a cheap suit.”
“He has had the ultimate gear change – being gelded.”
“He has had a spell and come back bigger and better, so let show them.”
By Jonny Turner