Trentham to decide immediate future

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  • July 18, 2023
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JJ Rayner will head to Trentham with two strong chances and events on Saturday will determine whether she ventures further afield with the pair next month.

The Wanganui trainer will be represented by pre-post favourite Hacksaw Ridge in the Novara Park Whyte Handicap (1600m) and Lord Spencer, who also heads the early market for the Cody Singer Memorial Maiden Hurdle (2500m).

The sparingly raced Hacksaw Ridge holds a nomination for the Gr.3 Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 5 and a decision on the southern venture will be decided after the weekend.

“He’s still in the Cup and the next payment is due on Monday so we’ll get Saturday out of the way first,” Rayner said.

“They have also upped the stake for the Interprovincial race ($80,000, 1600m) at New Plymouth in mid-August, it’s a Rating 82 race so we could go there.

“We’ll make our minds up after Saturday and it depends how the jumper goes as well because this guy really needs a mate, he’s not the best traveller.”

Hacksaw Ridge has won three of his 13 starts and was runner-up to top winter performer Justaskme in the Listed AGC Training Stakes (1600m) on his home track before consecutive fifth placings at Te Rapa and in and open handicap at Awapuni.

He was partnered last time out by Kate Hercock, who will again be aboard the five-year-old son of Power.

“He’s going really well and he’s a lot stronger this time in, but he’s not an easy horse to ride by any means,” Rayner said.

“He is a bit difficult and can over-race and throws his head about and Kate has had a ride on him now.

“I told her to get a bit of cover and she tried her best to do that, but he is hard to settle back and the way the track was we should have rolled forward a bit.

“She’s had that ride on him and knows what he’s like so I think he’s well enough to go a really nice race.”

Hacksaw Ridge is also a past course and distance winner at Trentham and is adept on heavy ground.

“He has taken a bit of time and was pretty weak early on. He’s not a big, robust sort but he gets through the mud well, he’s quite a nippy little horse,” Rayner said.

Lord Spencer was a winner on the flat before switching to hurdling this winter.

The son of Zed has made an encouraging start to his new career with a debut third at Te Rapa behind subsequent Hawke’s Bay Hurdles (3100m) placegetter The Mighty Spar.

Lord Spencer was again third last time out at Hastings and Stephan Karnicnik will retain the ride.

“He schooled over a couple this (Thursday) morning and had a gallop and he’s ready to go,” Rayner said.

“He’s doing everything right and is still learning the game and is getting there. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with him.”

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