by Duane Ranger
Standing start specialist Fleeting Grin will be looking to go one better when he contests his second Te Awamutu Cup at the Waipa Racecourse on Saturday.
The 7-year-old Grinfromeartoear gelding went within a length of the John and Josh Dickie trained Joanednobettor in the last Te Awamutu Grass Cup, which was on December 28, 2016.
His Raglan trainer, Chris Webber, said he only needs a good trip to be a serious threat.
“The 30m won’t bother him because he’s a very good standing start horse. He just needs more racing. The more he races the stronger he gets. He really likes the grass. He’s from a very underrated Alabar Stud sire and has the ability to win this one.
“It will come down to where he ends up in in the running, but he’s healthy as has come through his Thames race very well,” Webber said.
“He never got a go in that race (sixth). He only needs clear air and a bit of luck and he can get some of it,” he stressed.
Fleeting Grin will start from the 30m back-mark in Saturday’s $10,000 Brown and Pennell sponsored 2450m stand.
The gutsy old bay will be having his second start at Te Awamutu. Seven of his nine wins have been from a stand and he boasts three wins and seven placings from 19 starts on the grass. He has also placed five times from 11 starts over the distance
“It’s the closest track to home, just half an hour away. It would be great to win this Cup, but in saying that any race you win these days is a bonus. It’s not easy,” said Webber all has three horses in work.
Fleeting Grin provided Webber with his only win of the season two starts back at Cambridge Raceway. His two victories last season also came via his stable star. They were in the Tauranga Grass Cup (10m) on February 5 and at Cambridge Raceway on May 18.
The former South Islander won on debut for Canterbury trainer Regan Todd at Addington Raceway on April 24, 2014, with Mark Jones in the bike. Saturday’s Cup will be his 68th race-day start.
“He got all the favours in last year’s race when he sat in the trail. I can’t see him getting that same cushy run on Saturday, but if he can get into the running line he can get over the top of them,” Webber said.
“He’s a stronger horse and has filled out quite a bit this time in. I’ve just got to place him well. He doesn’t enjoy the Alexandra Park way around because he tends to whack his knees,” he added.
Webber will also line up Bye Bye Lucy (5) in the fifth event and Lady Santanna (2) in race 10.
“Fleeting Grin is definitely my best winning chance. He is the one worth working,” Webber said.
Toughest for Fleeting Grin to beat will be the Scott Dickson trained Marshall Star, who returned to form with a nice third at Hawera on January 7.
Bulls visitor Black Chevron can't be discounted either, while the Steve Telfer trained Delightful Zen is worth another chance after blowing the start in last Saturday's Parawai Cup at Thames.
Past winners of the The Te Awamutu Grass Cup at the Waipa Racecourse have been:
December 2016: The John and Josh Dickie (Clevedon) trained JOANEDNOBETTOR (Josh Dickie).
2015: The Brian Hughes (Ardmore) trained PRICILLAS GIRL (Zachary Butcher).
December 2013: The Hayley Morgan (Muriwai Beach) trained MACS CREATION (Sailesh Abernethy j).
2012: The Michelle Wallis & Bernie Hackett (Waiuku) trained THE WILD CARD (Nicky Chilcott).
December 2011: The Nicky Chilcott (Cambridge) trained and driven PRESIDENT TOMADO.
December 2010: The Michelle Wallis (Waiuku) trained TODDY (Todd Macfarlane).
December 2009: The Gareth Dixon (Ardmore) trained CYCLONE NIGHT (Peter Ferguson).
December 2008: The James Stormont (Pukekohe) trained and driven ITZ CHERRY RIPE.
December 2007: Race abandoned
December 2006: The Michele Wallis (Waiuku) trained THINGA ME BOB (Tony Herlihy MNZM).