Racing: Heavyweights at Ruakaka

By Mike Dillon

Hasselhoof and Valley Girl in Saturday’s sprint.
Hasselhoof comes into Saturday's race nicely off in the weights. Photo / Race Images
Hasselhoof comes into Saturday's race nicely off in the weights. Photo / Race Images

Hasselhoof walked off the Ruakaka track after a piece of slow work yesterday morning and with lightning speed did a 360 degree spin around.

A similar act across the ditch five months ago would have had the Australian press in a frenzy, such was his rock star image before his Sydney debut.

But the big gelding, whose plain looks defy his brilliance, is well known in the north.

"That's just him," says co-trainer Chris Gibbs, not missing a sip of his coffee. "And, he's pretty well and pretty fresh."

That much is true and punters therefore have a massive job assessing what Hasselhoof and his equally talented stablemate Valley Girl will do in their fresh-up runs in the 1200m sprint at Ruakaka on Saturday.

If punters are unclear, so is Chris Gibbs. "Obviously the two of them are there to further their preparations for much bigger races, but if they win, they win, and both are good enough to do that."

The pair have won $585,752 from just a combination of 17 race starts, but, interestingly, neither have raced over 1200m. Both began their careers over 1400m and are known as stayers. "But the boy [Hasselhoof] is so brilliant you wouldn't really know what he'll do."

He now looks a different horse to the raw-boned type we saw last season and is currently very bright, even though judged by Gibbs as "around 85 per cent fit".

Similarly, Valley Girl has furnished into a huge unit of muscle and has impressed even in her slow work this week at Ruakaka. Her spring campaign will be determined by what she does in the Makfi Challenge Stakes.

"She could go one of two ways. She could continue through the three legs of the Hastings treble or she could head to Melbourne if the stable is suitably impressed by what she does in the Makfi. "She's nominated for the Caulfield Cup and her Makfi run will determine if that's the path she takes." Hasselhoof is likely to start in the Makfi.

"But there could be a little doubt if the track was very firm. If that's the case we will have to re-assess."

Given their profile both Logan/Gibbs stars come into this race nicely off in the weights. Hasselhoof has 57.5kg and Valley Girl 1kg less.

Railway winner Ryan Mark has topweight at 61.5kg, Antonio Lombardo 61kg and Stolen Dance 60kg. What a race after a couple of months of watching horses slug around in the mud.

- NZ Herald

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