A start in the Group I Dominion Handicap and a trip to Australia are on the cards for Cool Cobber next season, Pukekohe trainer Derek Balle says.
Cool Cobber is owned in Southland by Kenny Baynes and Jo Calder, of Chatton. The 6-year-old trotter is turned out for a month after winning two of eight starts since leaving Southland in January.
His fourth in the Rowe Cup and third in the Anzac Cup, both Group I races at Alexandra Park during the autumn, proved to Balle that the trotter was up with Australasia’s top squaregaiters.
Racing clockwise at Alexandra Park and having beach work included in training have made Cool Cobber more competitive.
“He’s still a young horse as far as trotters go,” Balle said yesterday.
Cool Cobber’s half-brother, John Of Arc, who is a pacer, won at Pinjarra, West Australia, on Monday. John Of Arc’s 12 starts in West Australia have resulted in 10 wins.
Close relation Cool Son was expected to join Balle’s stable yesterday. Owned by Colin Baynes, of Gore, and formerly trained at Knapdale by Robin Swain, Cool Son has had 35 starts as a maiden trotter.
“A change of scenery might help him and he does go all right the Auckland way [clockwise] round,” Swain said.
The horseman was to have raced Knapdale Lady at Forbury Park tonight. However, she suffered a stonebruise this week and the decision has been made to retire her.
By Jamie Searle