By Duane Ranger
Two-year-old filly Tickle Me Pink has already been rated by her trainer, Tony Herlihy (MNZM) as one of the best juvenile trotters he has conditioned.
Herlihy said the Breckon Farms and Perfect Ten-owned bay showed promise from the day he broke her in.
“I’ve done quite a bit with her and I soon found out that she is quite sensible and does what you ask of her,” he said. “She has a lovely gait, has a bit of speed and can stay a bit,” the Ardmore horseman said.
Adding that a decade ago it would have been foreign for him to get a two-year-old trotter up-and-running.
“They are more tractable these days and the improving trotting breed has ensured that juvenile trotting is to be taken seriously. It’s the way harness racing is going and I think that is a good thing.
Tickle Me Pink has won both of her starts to date and because of that she will start from the outside of the front row (6) in tonight’s $10,000 Cambridge 2YO Trotting Stakes, by preferential draw.
The daughter of Muscle Hill, has never finished back further than second in four trials and workouts - the latest being a head victory over Special Lass right-handed at Pukekohe last Saturday.
Her winning mile rate for that 2500m stand was a sedate 2:17.6, compared to her two race day victories when she recorded 2:05 in a three-horse non-tote event at Alexandra Park on February 9 and then 2:02.1 in a five-horse 1700m mobile at the same venue February 23.
“At this stage of her brief career she hasn’t put a foot wrong and she is developing into a really nice trotting filly,” said Herlihy. “She’s certainly got the potential to win a few more races.”
“I certainly like this filly. She is the stable’s best winning chance tonight,” the man nicknamed ‘The Iceman’ said.
Herlihy said the Listed $65,000 PGG Series Final (1960m) and the Group Two $60,000 Sires Stakes Final (1960m), at Addington on May 11 and 18, respectively were future possibilities for Tickle Me Pink.
"I'll have to talk to the owners and see how she comes through her next couple of starts before we decide anything. It's probably worth a shot heading south, because I do rate her, but those races are quite close to the Jewels Final (Cambridge Raceway, June 2),” Herlihy said.
The Breckon Farms-bred filly is out of Luba Ann (Andover Hall – Luby), who was trained by Mark Purdon to win four races.
Toughest for Tickle Me Pink to beat tonight will be the Graeme Rogerson-trained and Todd Mitchell-driven She Reigns, who has drawn five.
The Monarchy filly has impressed in her three race-day starts to date winning at Alexandra Park on March 23 and April 6, and then a week later running second behind stablemate Spitting Image (David Butcher) - who has drawn four tonight.