Group One-winning trotter Lemond has suffered a few setbacks of late but he showed his quality at Alexandra Park on Friday night when winning the Wish 4 Fish Charity Function Friday May 24 Mobile Trot (1609m).
The six-year-old son of Love You went to battle with fellow Group One winner Massive Metro down the straight, distancing their rivals by nine lengths at the finishing post, where Lemond was able to get the better of his younger competitor by a nose.
Trainer Ross Paynter was delighted with the result and said it surpassed his expectations given Lemond wasn’t heading into the race in peak fitness.
“I was really happy with him,” Paynter said. “He’s just missed a little bit of work, so I thought he might have been a bit short going into it, but I was really happy with the result. There’s a bit of improvement left in him.
“He trotted very well and was really good in his gait. The other horse (Massive Metro) is a really good horse, so it’s nice to get one up on him.”
Lemond hasn’t raced in a month and Paynter said he has tried a few different things to try and overcome soreness issues that his gelding had been experiencing.
“He had one trial at Cambridge and actually galloped and pulled up a little bit scratchy, so we changed his shoes around a little bit and have been working him on the grass at Te Awamutu, just to take the sting out of his legs,” he said.
“There is nothing majorly wrong with him at all, but he’s just got a couple of little niggles. He’s pretty sound at the moment and is a happy horse.”
Paynter was also swimming his stable star a lot in the last few months, but has backed away from that in favour of more grass track work.
“We have been working him on the grass for a couple of months now. He does a little bit of work on the softer sand track at Cambridge, but he does most of his fast work on the grass nowadays,” Paynter said.
“We have swum him quite a lot this campaign, but we just backed off that a little bit.
“I had a vet look at him and he said he was a little bit sore over the back as well, which he said can be caused by a bit of swimming.
“He’s done a lot of swimming, but just in the last couple of weeks we have cut that right out.”
Paynter has taken a lot of confidence out of Friday, where Lemond posted a 1.57.5 mile rate, and is looking forward to the Charlie Hunter-owned trotter attempting to defend his title in the Gr.1 Anzac Cup (2200m) at Alexandra Park on April 26.
“The Anzac Cup will be his next race,” Paynter said. “He won that last year, it’s a Group One, and then he will head to the Rowe Cup (Gr.1, 3200m), so long as he stays in one piece.”
Meanwhile, Paynter experienced a perfect result in the opening race of the card on Friday, with Anditover and Molly Bones taking out the quinella.
“Molly Bones and Anditover are both nice, capable three-year-olds. It was great to get a good result like that,” Paynter said.
It was the third win from only five career starts for Anditover, with Paynter believing the son of Andover Hall could develop into a quality stayer.
“He’s a horse that I think will get better as he gets older,” he said. “I have always liked him, he’s just a bit of a slow learner. He’s got a really good motor, but lacks a little bit of speed.
“I think he will end up quite a good staying-type of horse.”
It was the second runner-up performance from only three starts for Molly Bones and Paynter said she could be forgiven for her unplaced effort at Alexandra Park last start.
“Molly Bones is a bit the opposite to Anditover,” he said. “She’s got a bit of high speed. She just galloped that other start. It was a false start at Auckland and it just upset her a little bit. But she was a lot better this week.
“She might not have been quite 100 percent on Friday night, so I think she will improve a fair bit.”
Paynter has been pleased with both three-year-olds and is setting them black-type targets in the coming months.
“Anditover is going to go for a Sires’ Stakes at Auckland,” he said. “There is a Sires’ Stakes Final (Gr.2, 2200m) for three-year-old trotters, he’s paid up for that. We will also have a look at the Derby (Gr.1 Northern Trotting Derby, 2700m).
“With Molly Bones, we will just see how we go, but the main target will be the Northern Trotting Oaks (Gr.3, 2200m) at Auckland.
“We could have a go at the Derby, but we will just see how we go. We won’t make any plans on that, we will try and stick to the fillies races if we can.” – Cambridge Raceway