The first batch of an exciting team of Kentuckiana Lodge two-year-olds will take an important step towards race day at Friday’s Pukekohe trials.

Cran and Chrissie Dalgety will give Casino Action, Misti Gaynor and Chevrons Bypass vital right-handed experience as part of their preparations for the first heats of the upcoming Young Guns Series at Alexandra Park. 

Misti Gaynor comes north after looking professional in two impressive workout wins in Canterbury.

The Sweet Lou filly from Bettor’s Delight mare, Cyzani, went through the harshest of critiques before being knocked down to Cran at last year’s NZB Standardbred Yearling Sales.

Misti Gaynor not only had to pass Cran’s proven yearling selection process, she also had to get ticks of approval from Sweet Lou’s trainer, champion horseman Ron Burke, and Sweet Lou’s owner Larry Karr.

And she passed all three tests with flying colours.

“You could say she is a little bit of a plain filly, but everything is in the right place, as it should be, and her confirmation is perfect,” Cran said

“There is one thing we couldn’t measure at the yearling sales and that is how competitively determined she is.”

“In her last heat at the workouts she was there to get beaten, but she stuck her ears back and won.”

“That is a great bonus to have, on top of her being a lovely filly, she has got real determination.”

Misti Gaynor not only has the top two inches of a good horse, she has the physical makings of a classy filly. 

“She is in the well above average category at this stage,” Cran said. 

“She has a great foundation underneath her, she has had three public outings and they have all been good.”

“She is ready to go on with it now.”

Larry Karr took full ownership of Misti Gaynor with Ron Burke taking a share in Casino Action.

Another NZB Standardbred Yearling Sales purchase, Casino Action has also gone north after producing an impressive workout win.

The colt is simply built to be a racehorse and has the constitution to handle the rigours of top-class racing.

“He is built like a bulldog,” Cran said. 

“It is a good problem to have, we have to have him on the Jenny Craig diet and put more work into him than we would usually want to.”

“He has just got a great constitution and has had a great upbringing.”

While he left Canterbury in great shape, Casino Action is a better horse mentally and physically after being away from home just a matter of days.

“He has got some real guts about him,” Cran said.

“The trip north is really making him, as well.”

“He has got a mate up here with him and he is really thriving.”

Cran admits Casino Action was not the perfect type of yearling he is used to buying at the sales.

But he liked what he saw in the colt’s pedigree, being by Bettor’s Delight from American Ideal mare Super Deal.

Super Deal is a descendant of super-producer, Scuse Me. 

Cran is no stranger to her family, having enjoyed brilliant success with Christen Me. 

Casino Action has developed into a fine physical specimen since arriving at Kentuckiana Lodge.

He is not at the point where he would fetch as much as double his original purchase price, if not more, if he were to go back through the sales ring. 

“To be honest his confirmation wasn’t 10/10, but I went for the Bart Cummings scenario,” Cran said.

“I thought I would override his looks with his pedigree.”

“12 months is a long time in a horse’s life for transformation for the good.”

“It has worked in our favour and now you wouldn’t think there is anything even slightly amiss.”
“He is a real standout.”

Chevrons Bypass rounds out the trio of Kentuckiana Lodge two-year-olds that will step out at Pukekohe on Friday.

Another NZB Standardbred Yearling Sales purchase, the Captaintreacherous filly from Bettor’s Delight mare, Capture My Heart, has taken plenty of benefit from her first two public appearances before heading north.

“You might look at her workouts and say they have been a little bit plain,” Cran said. 

“But she is a Captaintreacherous and as everyone knows the Somebeachsomewhere line can get a little bit steamy.”

“Well she is out of a Bettor’s Delight mare and she is much more like that side, she is totally laid back and casual.”

“Her workouts have switched her on and helped her figure out what it is all about.”

“Her recent training has been super and she has said to us we are on the road north.”

“She is not just here for the ride, either.”

As her name suggests, Chevrons Bypass is raced by Graham Beirne’s Small Car Ltd.

Following Friday’s trials, Kentuckiana Lodge’s trio of two-year-olds will step out at Alexandra Park on January 22.

They will then progress on to the first round of Young Gun Series heats on February 5.  

By Jonny Turner