Fitness in mind for Harry’s season opener

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  • April 22, 2024
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Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Gail Temperton is hoping her promising hurdler Harry Harrison can gain valuable fitness ahead of an exciting season with a resuming run in the Chillco (2850m) on Sunday at Hawera.

The Haradasun gelding has become well-recognised for his diminutive stature, particularly in the latter stages of last season when he scored a winning hat-trick over the fences.

Due to a low rating on the flat, the Foxton horsewoman was forced to enter Harry Harrison for Sunday’s restricted open contest as his first-up run, where his 70.5kg impost is decreased slightly by Portia Matthews’ two-kilogram claim.

“Harry is obviously the topweight and the highest-rated horse in the race, but he is below-par for his fitness, so this will really be a fitness run for him,” Temperton said.

“He’s only a Rating 55 on the flat, which meant the races I’d nominated for, we were balloted out. He did have a very good 2000m jump out, but apart from that, he hasn’t had enough racing yet to be at full fitness.

“He’ll be vulnerable on Sunday.”

Beyond Sunday’s assignment, Temperton is looking forward to testing the eight-year-old among the top hurdlers this season, with the Waikato Hurdles (3200m) on June 15, and Hawke’s Bay Hurdles (3100m) on June 29 as potential targets.

“We’ll have to look at the big races this year as Harry is a midget, which is well-known, and he can’t carry a lot of weight. He has won carrying 70kg before, but he was at full fitness,” Temperton said.

“We won’t be looking to increase his weight beyond that, so he’ll have to go out against the big boys and get less weight next time out.

“I like the look of the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles, he doesn’t mind the wet, but he doesn’t like it bottomless with his very short legs. He literally sunk up to his belly at Wellington last year so he can’t handle the heavy stuff.

“We hopefully will go there and Waikato.”

Temperton’s small team also includes in-form mare Royal Flower, the daughter of Proisir gaining a valuable black-type placing when third in the Gr.3 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2100m) a fortnight ago.

“We hope to go to the Travis Stakes (Gr.2, 2000m) next with her,” she said.

Multiple-stakes performer Never Look Back is also returning to full work, and Temperton is hoping to add to his Listed Marton Cup (2200m) and Gr.3 Manawatu Cup (2300m) placings this campaign.

“Never Look Back is a promising horse and he’s done very well in his short career. He just started to get into serious work now, so we haven’t set out a plan for him,” she said.


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