By Michael Guerin
Trainer Arna Donnelly is glad she isn’t driving Kango in one of the biggest races of his career at the Jewels.
Because ask Donnelly what she thinks she would do in a best-case scenario and she admits she doesn’t know.
The giant first-season pacer got the perfect pre-Jewels confidence boost on his home track on Thursday night when he cruised to the front and was never out of third gear before romping home from Doc Holliday in a sizzling 55.5 second last 800m in the 2700m main pace.
The gate speed and flying sectionals raise the question of what Donnelly would want driver David Butcher to do if Kango could draw to potentially lead a field that will contain Copy That, Bad To The Bone, Pembrook Playboy, South Coast Arden and others.
“I really don’t know what I’d do if we were lucky enough to be in a position like that,” she laughs.
“I mean I’d love to see him in front around Cambridge over a mile and I think if you lead and hand to a Copy That then maybe you are giving the race away.
“But I don’t have to make that decision, David does.”
Donnelly says the win was just what Kango needed and she probably won’t bother trialling him or stablemate New York Minute, who finished fifth last night, before the huge day on June 6.
“We can work on the track any time we want so I don’t think we need to. It is exciting to have two in the race and I am also glad Alicia (Harrison) gets to have another Group One drive on New York Minute.”
So strong is the four-year-old Emerald even a pacer as good as Kango is still $21 in a market headed by Copy That at $1.80.
One winner from Thursday night who is a lot tighter in her Jewels market is Double Delight, who after two starts finds herself the $6 second favourite for the two-year-old Ruby.
Unbeaten in both runs, the pacing-bred trotting filly again didn’t win by much but looks a real little pro and she is one of the few Ruby contenders already in the North Island as many are still in the South.