By Duane Ranger – Courtesy of HRNZ

Pukekohe horseman Derek Balle only has three runners lining up at Alexandra Park tonight and he rated all three good each-way chances.

Young Stranger (Balle), Janet Guthrie (James Stormont) and Sir George Grey (David Butcher) will line up in races one, three and six respectively.

Balle is just $834 short of surpassing $150,000 in stakes for the season and $668 shy of what he earned last year.

“I’m happy with that considering I’ve only had 11 winners this season and we won 17 last year. However, we have placed 32 times which has helped the bank balance. The $150,000 mark does mean a lot especially when you are out training on days like this in the rain.

“The $400 per starter for trainers at Alexandra Park will be a great help after August 1. I think it’s a great initiative and will help trainers who train a few of their own. Not everyone can win major stakes so this will be a great help in paying the bills,” the Auckland Trotting Club board member said.

Balle rated the lightly tried 3-year-old filly, Janet Guthrie as his best winning chance tonight. Here’s what he had to say about his trio:

Race 1: YOUNG STRANGER (9 – 10m) – “He should be okay where he’s starting from. He didn’t quite back up his first run his good third on the track on June 17 but he had a little bit of muscle soreness and has bounced back well. I’d rate him an each-way chance in this race.”

Race 3: JANET GUTHRIE (2) – “She’s a nice filly who has worked on well since her debut eighth (gate nine) here last week. She’s a sit and sprint type of horse who will have taken a lot out of her first-up run. I think she’s also a definite each-way prospect from the draw.”

Race 6: SIR GEORGE GREY (2) – “He’s also drawn well and has David in the bike again. He seems to be getting better with each run and prefers the shorter 1700m distance. He has placed over that journey behind One Over Da Moon this season. He’s a big horse and it can be hard keeping the weight on him. I thought he went okay for fourth last start and I think he will be thereabouts again from the kind draw.”

With trots at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday the Auckland Trotting Club could only attract 76 nominations for Friday’s eight-race card.

Note the first race is a later than usual 6.36pm start.