By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan won’t be able to be trackside at Cambridge Raceway’s meeting on Friday night, but the Clevedon trainers have been in this position before.
New Zealand, with the exception of Auckland and Northland, have eased to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, allowing for racing to resume below the Auckland-Waikato border.
With Auckland and Northland still under Alert Level 4 restrictions, trainers and drivers in those regions cannot attend meetings, however, their horses can.
While it has thrown a spanner in the works for Auckland-based trainers, they experienced a similar situation in August last year following an outbreak of the virus in Auckland.
Having already experienced the border restrictions between Auckland and Waikato, Purdon and Phelan are not fazed by the current situation.
They are utilisiing commercial transport companies and calling on the aid of Waikato-based trainers to assist them while their horses are in the region.
“It is what it is, and you can’t do much about it,” Phelan said.
“The horses will go on Majestic and then some people like Luke Whittaker have said they will help us out. He was the first person to ring up to see if we needed a hand.”
Purdon and Phelan will have six runners at Cambridge on Friday night and they are confident of bold showings from each of their team.
Major Jellis finished runner-up at Alexandra Park last month and will be looking to go one better in the Dunstan Mobile Pace (2200m) in the hands of driver Peter Ferguson.
“He has finally got a good draw (3), he hasn’t had one in a while. I think he will be a pretty good chance,” Phelan said.
Tonites Delight will be another looking to improve on their last start placing when they line-up in the Ike Unsworth Mobile Pace (2200m).
“Tonites Delight has got a good draw (1) and is a nice enough maiden. He shouldn’t be far away,” Phelan said.
Stablemate Arden Velocity finished outside of the top three for the first time last start and Phelan expects to see an improved performance on Friday.
“It was a bit uncharacteristic of him last start to have wee gallop. He will need a bit of luck from the draw (11) but if he gets a nice run he won’t be without a chance,” Phelan said.
Two-year-old gelding Courage of Montana will make their debut in the Christmas @ The Raceway Tickets On Sale Now Mobile Pace (2200m) and Phelan expects the son of Courage Under Fire to feature in the finish after drawing gate three.
“Courage Of Montana has trialled pretty well. He has got a decent motor on him and if he puts his best foot forward it would take a nice one to beat him,” Phelan said.
Last start winner Be My Rose and three-year-old Doctor Steve will round out the Clevedon barn’s team in the Blue Do 23 September, tickets On Sale Now Mobile Pace (1700m) and NZMCA Parking At Cambridge Raceway Mobile Pace (2200m) respectively.
“Be My Rose hasn’t got a great draw (9), but she has been going well and is a nice mare,” Phelan said.
“If Doctor Steve can keep his mind on the job he will be pretty hard to beat.”