By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Trainers Greg and Nina Hope nearly went home with the perfect result at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.
Muscle Mountain started the night off well for the Woodend Beach stable when taking out the Gr.2 Group 1 Turf Bar Trotters Flying Mile (1609m) before A G’s White Socks went down by just a nose to Hot And Treacherous in the Gr.2 McMillan Equine Feeds Pacers Flying Mile (1609m).
“We were only a nose away (from getting the perfect result), it was great,” Greg Hope said.
Muscle Mountain ended his northern campaign on a high with an all the way win and he will now return south to spell in preparation for spring racing.
“He ran out in 27 and home in 26, what more can you ask of the horse?” Hope said.
“It was a great front-running drive by Ben (Hope).
“We said to Ben that it was his last start up here and he is going out for a break, don’t worry if Tony (Herlihy, trainer-driver of Bolt For Brilliance) comes and you don’t hand up, we wanted him to stay in front with the horse.
“He is a super horse and hopefully we are doing the right thing by the horse and owner to bring him home. Hopefully he should have a great season next season.”
While A G’s White Socks went down by just a nose a race later, Hope was rapt with his effort, with driver John Dunn sending him three-wide with 450m in a bid to chase down pacemaker Hot And Treacherous.
“He went super,” Hope said. “He lost a length-and-a-half easy on the bend popping out, but Johnny had to go then because the leader was getting away, and he drove the perfect race.
“Losing that length-and-a-half on the bend cost us the win in the end, but you can’t take anything away from Hot And Treacherous, he went super.
“I couldn’t be happier.”
A G’s White Socks will now be set for the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m), however, the standing start remains a major concern for Hope.
“We know that he is a great two-miler, he will stay all day, he has just got to step,” he said.