By Duane Ranger
Victorian trotter, One Muscle Hill will have his only North Island start at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night.
The Nicole Molander trained 2-year-old son of Muscles Hill will line up as one of the favourites in the $8,000 Lone Star Riccarton 2yo Sires Stakes Prelude.
Even though he is being temporarily being stabled with Dave and Clare McGowan at Pukekohe, the bay colt is being cared for by Molander’s stable employee, Monique Burnett.
Molander’s husband Dean flies in today (Thursday) to take over from Burnett.
“We think a lot of him, but need to know just how good he really is, and that’s why we have brought him to New Zealand. He is one of a shipment of horses that was bought in New Zealand by his American owners Mark Hanover and Gordon Banks,” Molander (Dean) said.
“He’s all paid up for the Sires Stakes and Yearling Sales races, so we thought why not. Hopefully he can get enough dollars and also qualify for the Jewels final,” he added.
Tony Herlihy (MNZM) will have his one and only drive behind One Muscle Hill on Friday before his brother-in-law, Mark Purdon takes over the reins.
“He will head to Mark and Natalie’s (Rasmussen) stable after Friday’s race.”
One Muscle Hill was a half-neck winner of his only start at Maryborough on March 2 – the $7,000 Seelite Redwood 2yo Trotters Handicap.
He started from gate six and was driven by Gavin Lang. He paced the 1690m mobile in 2:12.5 with a 2:06.1 mile rate. His sectionals were:
Lead time: 8.0; first quarter: 32.8; second quarter: 31.9; third quarter: 29.7; fourth quarter: 30.1. He was the $7.50 fourth favourite.
“We think a lot of him but the best gauge will be to see how he goes in New Zealand. We would love him to qualify for the Jewels Final at Ashburton in early June and then come back here and prepare for the Breeder’s Crown,” Molander said.
Hanover and Banks paid $57,500 for One Muscle Hill to his breeders Lex and Heather Williams of Waimate’s One Over Lodge at last year’s New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch.
One Muscle Hill is the third of five foals out of the three-win Earl mare, Landora’s Pearl.
“He’s always looked and acted like a good racehorse over here. He really loves eating. He’s such a laid back character, which should help him in his racing. He never seems to get fired up.
“The owners were real keen to bring him to New Zealand. He qualified well here and has carried that into race-day form. We just hope he can repeat that in New Zealand.
“We know it’s much tougher over there and that’s why we want to send him there to see exactly where he is at,” Molander said.
Only five runners will greet starter Colin Courtney in the 1700m mobile. Toughest for One Muscle Hill to beat will be the John and Josh Dickie trained Paramount King, who has drawn the ace.
That 2-year-old son of Love You and Paramount Star has won his last two Auckland non-tote races very easily.
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