Racing: Arran Chief to step forward

By Matt Smith

Arran Chief will race at Addington tonight. Photo / File
Arran Chief will race at Addington tonight. Photo / File

The feet are sorted and so are the insides as Arran Chief starts to build up towards a possible tilt at one of New Zealand trotting's great races with a race at Addington tonight.

The Andrew Faulks-trained 8-year-old is among the nominations for the Group 1 Dominion trot in November, giving Faulks and Kurow owner/breeder Ray Warwick something to aim towards.

"You don't get that many horses in that grade very often so what the hell -- we might not get in but if you're not in, you can't win," the horseman said.

Despite his age, the son of Sundon only started racing halfway through the 2014-15 season as a 6-year-old, claiming seven wins from 40 starts in that time.

Those victories now mean he is rated as a C6 trotter, but Faulks expects his charge will need to win a race or two between now and November 11 to make the Dominion field.

"You'd imagine Monbet will scare away a few of the Aussies and give us a better chance of getting in, but he will probably have to win another race to get in."

A win in tonight's $13,000 C3-and-faster handicap trot would be a good start.

Arran Chief will start off 30m after beating Ottawa and nine other rivals at Oamaru on August 7.

Faulks fixed hoof issues in the summer with flip-flop shoe, which Arran Chief is not wearing for now on the softer tracks, but an ulcer treatment has cleared up issues which surfaced at Oamaru during the winter.

"He was shaking before the race, and afterwards he was quite agitated, which just wasn't him."

The two subsequent runs produced a close-up seventh at Addington and the August 7 win.

Arran Chief worked to the lead from his 20m mark at Oamaru, although Faulks is not expecting similar tonight off 30m.

"I think he would be in the top four or five with a pretty decent run," he said.

"He probably won't be able to get the front this time but if some of them put a true sort of pace on, he should be running on at the finish.

"He's better with the pace on all the way.

"He won't beat the really good ones when they go quick, but he might keep up in behind them."

Faulks suggests the eighth from Alvira Hest (R4) at Addington two weeks ago is best forgotten, after driver Blair Orange reported back to Faulks following the race.

"Blair blamed himself a bit last time -- he said he probably shouldn't have gone when he did.

"So the run probably wasn't as bad as it looks on the formline.

It's probably a drop in class too, so hopefully if she does everything right, she'll be half a chance."

Aveross Rustler (race 8) has drawn barrier one (R8) and is a place chance if he is close enough on the turn.

"He's definitely working a bit better than he was two or three weeks ago."

- NZ Herald

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