Donnelly set to conquer Rotorua

Arna Donnelly. Photo: Trish Dunell
Arna Donnelly. Photo: Trish Dunell

Cambridge trainer Arna Donnelly will take a five-strong team south to Rotorua on Sunday and she is looking forward to competing on the grass surface. 

Her team will be headlined by Gartshore Group 2020 Rotorua Pacers Cup (2600m) contender Young Conqueror who is taking three successive runner-up performances into the race.

“He is racing super this guy,” Donnelly said. “He just seems to find one better the last three times he has stepped out.

“I think everything suits him this week. There are a couple of nice ones in there like Gambit (30m), Callie’s Delight (20m) and Magilligan Point (10m). But if he gets the right run in transit he will be hard to roll.

“As a rule he can begin quite quickly and sometimes too quick for his own good, but I don’t think the 20m will be an issue.”

Donnelly will also be vying to take out the Dunstan Horse Feeds 2020 Rotorua Trotters Cup (2600m) with Fira.

The daughter of Thanksgiving has drawn one and Donnelly believes she can be competitive from that mark.

“She is racing honest,” Donnelly said. “She tries hard and as a rule she is a very good beginner.

“I would actually like to see her in front. It’s a pretty nice field, there are a few smart ones off the handicap.

“If she can roll along in front, hopefully she can be in the mix.”

Stable junior driver Kaleb Bublitz will be looking to secure his first raceday win behind his own horse, Turkish Trousers, in the Armstrong Family Memorial Mobile Pace (1800m).

“She is probably going through the motions a little bit,” Donnelly said. “We are hoping the grass might suit her and she will be able to find a bit of form.”

Donnelly is holding reserved expectations with Waiheke Warrior when he contests the Hidden Lake Hotel & Apartments Mobile Pace (1800m).

The three-year-old gelding won on debut at Cambridge last month before finishing unplaced at the Waikato track earlier this month, but Donnelly said punters can rule a line through that run.

“I would just forget the last run with Waiheke Warrior, he didn’t get the run to suit and it’s a big step up going from a maiden to the one win grade,” she said.

“This horse can’t get a good draw at the moment, but hopefully he can get a bit of a nice trip into it and something can cart him forward. I wouldn’t count him out.”

Donnelly is particularly looking forward to Sunday with grass track specialist Veneto who will contest the Seeka Kiwifruit Mobile Pace (1800m).

The eight-year-old mare has recorded five of her six wins on the surface and Donnelly is expecting another good run after her last start victory.

“She’s probably my best of the day,” Donnelly said. “She is in fine form at the moment, she is racing super and she loves the grass.

“She seems really well and has bounced through her last start win, so I expect another good run from her again.”

Donnelly said she is disappointed with the decline of grass track meetings in the north and is hoping for a turnaround next season.

“It’s a real shame. It was always good for your lower grade horses and the ones that just lack that bit of speed on the hard tracks and it’s a good day out for owners and families.” – Cambridge Raceway


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