Cambridge trainer Ross Paynter will have strong representation at his local meeting on Friday night.
The Waikato horseman has a six-strong team entered for Cambridge Raceway’s meeting and he is expecting a good showing from the sextet.
Ten-win gelding Gershwin will kick-off proceedings in the John Deere Handicap Trot (2700m) and Paynter doesn’t believe his 40m handicap will pose too much of an issue.
“It shouldn’t worry him too much,” he said. “It is always a decent mark, 40m, but it just depends what he is racing.
“He should be pretty good. He went well enough last start (to finish fourth) and he will only be fitter for it.
“David Butcher (driver) is back on him because Kyle (Marshall) has got one of his own in there, and David has always got on pretty well with him.”
Now a rating 75 horse, Paynter said he has become a hard horse to place, particularly with him not handling the right-handed way of going at Alexandra Park.
“He’s a bit of an enigma. He can’t really go Auckland way that well, so we have just got to stick left-handed with him.
“Now he is up in the grades at Cambridge, he always cops a big mark, which is not ideal for him.”
Another pair of trotters that Paynter is expecting to do well are five-year-old mares Aoraki and As Free As Air.
The stable duo will contest the gavelhouse.com Entries Due Next Wednesday Mobile Trot (2200m) and Paynter can’t split them heading into Friday.
“They are a solid pair of trotters,” he said. “As Free As Air went really well at Auckland last start, but she had a little skip, but the mobile suits her. She should be really hard to beat.
“Aoraki never goes a bad race. She will be thereabouts too. She is as solid as a rock at the moment and she will go a good race again.
“I can’t really split them really.”
Paynter will be hoping 12th time’s a charm for Mach Three gelding New Frontier when he lines-up in the Big Xmas Do Dec 5th and 9th Mobile Pace (2200m).
The four-year-old gelding has placed in three of his 11 careers starts and Paynter is hoping driver Fergus Schumacher can settle him in his run on Friday.
“He is a nice enough horse, he just gets himself a bit keyed up on race day. He has always had to do quite a bit of work in the run because he can get on the bit a little bit.
“If we can try and let him settle a little bit midfield, he will go well.”
New Frontier had a final hit-out over 2200m at the Cambridge workouts on Saturday and Paynter was pleased with his and stablemate Jemma’s performance.
“He and Jemma trialled really nicely on Saturday,” he said. “The boys locked wheels at the 200m mark at the workouts and lost a few lengths, but they came home good after that.
“They probably would have finished one-two quite comfortably if they hadn’t had locked wheels.
“They should both race well.”
Jemma will head into the P & M Quality Painters Mobile Pace (2200m) off the back of a pleasing debut run at Cambridge Raceway earlier this month.
“We were happy with her run on debut,” Paynter said. “She drew six, pretty much on the outside of the gate.
“We went backwards and Fergus (Schumacher, driver) took a few shortcuts and just taught her a little bit.
“If we had gone out from six, she would have been parked three-wide. We didn’t want to hurt her first-up. It was a good educational run for her.
“We are really happy with her ahead of Friday. She just needs a bit of luck in the run and she will be right there in the finish. She has improved quite a bit since her last run.”
Paynter will jump in the cart for the first time this season to steer Flying Scotsman in the See You Melbourne Cup Day Trot (2200m).
The son of Superfast Stuart will have his second career start on Friday after galloping away when on debut.
“He’s a bit immature physically and mentally at the moment, but we are going to give him one more start and then he is going to go out for a break,” Paynter said.
“He has definitely got the ability, he’s just a bit weak. He’s just a bit funny and a bit tricky, so I’ll have a go myself.
“If he was to do everything right, he’s certainly not out of the first four.”
Meanwhile, stable star Lemond will be on trial at Alexandra next week with his performance dictating whether he will head south for the Gr.1 Dominion Trot (3200m).
He resumed with a pleasing runner-up performance over a mile at Alexandra Park last month before being pulled up at the same venue last start.
He has since been treated by a vet, but Paynter is confident of getting him back to the races next week.
“We had the vet out to see him on Monday, they just treated a couple of things,” Paynter said.
“He just had a bit of a soreness issue after his race at Auckland the other night, nothing major, but it’s just something that we have got to work on.
“We are going to race him next week in a mile at Auckland, so we will just see how he pulls through that first before we make any decisions about heading south.” – Cambridge Raceway