Cambridge conditioners Andrew and Lyn Neal have taken a few horses south to compete over New Zealand Cup week over the years, including Group One winner Flight South and Group Two winner Where Eagles Dare, and this year they are particularly excited about the prospects of talented pacer Alterior Motif.
The four-year-old son of Sportswriter is undefeated in his two starts to date and his trainers are looking forward to testing him on the sport’s biggest day when he lines-up in the Avon City Ford Mobile Pace (1980m) on Cup Day.
Alterior Motif won comfortably at Cambridge Raceway on debut by 6-1/4 lengths and then made it back-to-back wins at the Waikato track last month when winning by a head, and his trainers believe Addington will be a good testing ground for their charge.
“He has only had the two starts and he has won reasonably easy both starts,” Andrew Neal said.
“We will just see how far he goes before he meets the mountain. He has a lot of ability.”
Neal said the trip south was a logical one as Alterior Motif refuses to race left-handed.
“The horse went down on Wednesday morning and he is down at Jim and Sandy Curtin’s. He has settled in well,” Neal said.
“We had him at Cambridge because we couldn’t get him going the Auckland way around, otherwise he would have been racing at Auckland for better money.
“We are not sure where to place him after this, but with Addington there and two $25,000 races, and going left-handed, it made sense to have a look at it.
“It can help us make up our mind of what we might do afterwards as well.”
Neal is pleased with Alterior Motif leading into Tuesday after his hit-out at the Cambridge workouts last week.
“We are very happy with his progress heading into the race,” he said.
“He trialled last Saturday. David Butcher drove him and he is going to drive him on Tuesday and Friday.”
Neal said he has fielded a lot of calls from interested parties about purchasing the horse and he said Alterior Motif would be ideally suited to a track like Menangle.
“The Sportswriters seem to go better in America and Australia than they do in New Zealand, but I guess a lot of them get sold off early on,” Neal said.
“There is someone ringing every week about him, but no one has followed through with anything as yet.
“He likes to roll so a track like Menangle will suit him.”
Meanwhile, the Neals have been pleased with the way 11-win trotter Credit Master has returned from his freshen-up.
The talented but erratic trotter was slated to target Cup week spoils a couple of months ago, however, behavioural issues put paid to those plans.
He instead went for a freshen-up and has returned in fine form, winning two of his three starts this preparation and finished runner-up at Alexandra Park last start.
The son of Muscle Mass is now being set to target feature Northern trotting races in the coming months.
“He is finally maturing,” Neal said. “He will ease his way into December racing and then there are some races for him at Cambridge as well.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk