By Duane Ranger
Franklin trainer Derek Balle will make a hit-and-run attack on Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night (December 1) with the best horse in his 20-strong Pukekohe stable.
Kenrick hasn’t raced since June 17 and is Balle’s only starter at the eight-race meeting.
Balle thinks with a bit of luck in the running from gate six, the entire can win first-up in the feature pace – the $7,000 O’Connor Warren Insurance Brokers Handicap for the R56 and faster pacers.
“If he steps, and I think he will, he can go close. I have put some work into his standing starts and he’s come through it okay. He did a good job last season. He’s a lovely little 4-year-old who I think can get to a C7 or C8 pacer in the old handicapping terms.
“Potentially he’s the best in my barn at present,” Balle said.
David Butcher will do the steering behind the son of Bettor’s Delight and Toast To Cullen. They have won in a fresh state (after 90 days) before.
“David wanted to drive him and that suits me fine. They get on well. They had two races together when he was two and then won three races last season. If he can get a nice sit then i think he can go close,” Said Balle.
Kenrick has won one of his four starts at Cambridge Raceway and placed in one other. He will be having his first start from the 2700m stand.
Kenrick and Butcher have also finished third in two 2050m mobile workouts at Pukekohe on November 12 and 26.
Last Saturday they finished in behind the above average pacers Star Galleria and Hug The Wind (2:04.1 mile rate) and then two weeks earlier Kenrick was third behind Zadaka and Rakarazor (2:02.9 mile rate).
Rakarazor has since notched up her third career win against a nice R65 to R70 field at Alexandra Park last Friday night.
“If he does win on Thursday he will only get six points added to his rating so the win won’t affect him too much. He’s currently an R66 ranked pacer.
“He’s the type of horse who just keeps on improving every start, and no matter what he does on Thursday he will be fitter and better for the run,” Balle said.
“After Thursday he’ll probably race at least once at the Auckland Cup Carnival,” he added.
Kenrick will start from a 10-metre handicap and the toughest for him to beat will be the Rod MacKenzie trained Fizzi Lizzi and the Todd Mitchell trained Stunin Banner.
Fizzi Lizzi (10m) has won two of her last three starts at Cambridge Raceway – the latter, an R68 and faster pace on November 17. That was also a 2700m stand and she won off the front by three quarters of a length with a 2:04 mile rate.
Mitchell’s team can never be discounted on his home track. The Tauwhare horseman has made a brilliant start to 2016-2017 with eight wins and 17 placings from 51 starters. That equates to a very healthy 0.3208 UDR strike-rate.
Stunin Banner (20m), who is rated R98, hasn’t finished further back than fourth in his last seven starts and five of his 15-career wins have come at Cambridge, including once over tonight’s distance.
The 8-year-old son of McArdle and Mainland Banner comes into Thursday’s feature pace with a gutsy three-quarters of a length second (from his 20m handicap) behind Fizzi Lizzi here a fortnight ago.