Cambridge trainer Arna Donnelly will take two strong chances south to Manawatu Harness Racing Club’s meeting at Manawatu Raceway on Tuesday, but has decided against staying down for the club’s second day on Thursday.
“The main reason we are going down is for the maiden mare, Westburn Yield, and she’s probably not ready quite yet to race both days,” Donnelly said. “So we thought we would race her the one day and then wait until next week at Cambridge.”
Formerly trained by Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins, Westburn Yield has recently joined Donnelly’s barn and the five-year-old mare will have her first start for the stable in the Café Jacko Mobile Pace (2000m).
The daughter of Bettor’s Delight had two starts for the Taupaki trainers for a runner-up effort at Cambridge and an unplaced run at Auckland in September and Donnelly is looking forward to lining her up on Tuesday.
“She came down from Frank And Tate’s in Auckland,” Donnelly said. “I haven’t had her that long.
“She went pretty good at Cambridge the night she ran second and then she was just unlucky to strike a field when they went 2.39.7 against Chevron Supreme, but she still held her own on the fence and I think they went 41.9, so it was still a good effort.
“If you can run those times, you would think you would be competitive down the line at Palmerston North.
“She is just going to have to overcome a bad draw (7).”
Donnelly will also line-up last-start winner Womeninleague in the Matt and Marion Hickey Mobile Pace (2000m).
The five-year-old will be driven by stable junior driver Alicia Harrison, who leases the mare, and Donnelly said she too will have to overcome an unfavourable barrier, having drawn six.
“She’s racing really well and is running a bit of time too,” Donnelly said. “It’s a bit of a tricky draw once again, but we made a bit of a gear change on her and she’s coming off the gate a bit better. If she can get handy over that distance I think she should be thereabouts as well.
“She’s pulled up a treat (after her last run), she looks fantastic. She thrives on her racing, so we’ll keep striking while the iron’s hot.”
While Donnelly is pleased with both runners heading into Tuesday, she is leaning towards Womeninleague as the stable’s best chance.
“I’d probably have to go with Womeninleague, Westburn Yield would be worth following next start,” she said. “I think whatever she does on Tuesday she’ll benefit from.” – Cambridge Raceway