By Duane Ranger
It’s been almost nearly three years since Andrew Sharpe trained his last winner, but the 35-year-old could go one-for-one on opening night of the 2018-2019 Cambridge Raceway harness racing season on Thursday night.
Sharpe, who is employed by Derek Balle in Pukekohe, will line up one of the likely favourites - My Boy Boo in the second event – the $7,500 Toni Swann Band Handicap for the up to R48 maiden trotters.
The Franklin horseman said the former pacer, who is having just his second start as a squaregaiter, had ability, and was improving all the time - but was still getting his head around the trotting game.
“He’s a real work in progress but I’ve always liked the way he has trotted. I think he will step all right. I just want him to stay in his gait after that.
“If he can do that he can win,” Sharpe said.
He said the now 6-year-old gelding pulled up as a pacer at Alexandra Park on June 15 and then the following day lined him up in a Learners Trot at the Pukekohe Workouts.
"I knew he could trot a bit. He blew his opposition away winning that workout by 20 lengths. I then qualified him 6.1 seconds under time when he won right handed at Pukekohe (July 7).
"It was Derek who convinced me that I should think about trotting with him. If anyone knows a trotter it's Derek. he's had a lot of big trotting wins," Sharpe said.
Meanwhile, recently crowned New Zealand Junior Driving champion, Alicia Harrison, has two drives on Thursday.
The 22-year-old will drive her grandfather – Warren Taylor’s – seven-year-old gelding, Sir Henry Castleton, in the last race - the $8,500 Mitre 10 Mega Cambridge Handicap for the R53 to R74 trotters.
Sir Henry Castleton finished third in 2017-2018 Dunstan Horse Feeds Horse-of-the-Year at Cambridge Raceway behind Credit Master (Andrew & Lyn Neal) and Somewhereinbrooklyn .
“I was rapt with ‘Henry’s’ workout win at Pukekohe (July 28). It’s the soundest he’s felt so hopefully he’s pulled up well. I’m confident he will go a good race, but it’s a very nice field.
“My other drive is Viewfield Gnat in the juniors race (fourth event). He’s is a nice horse too, but he’ll need a bit of luck from the draw,” the Cambridge horsewoman said.
“In saying that but I’m sure he’ll be running on well at the end,” she added.