Steve Telfer's not-so-secret weapon makes him the trainer for punters to follow when horse racing returns to the North Island for the first time in more than two months at Cambridge today.
The nine-race harness racing meeting signals the return of horse racing in the North Island after the code resumed at Addington on Thursday and Friday, and Invercargill yesterday.
And there was more good news as thoroughbred bosses suggested their code could be back two weeks earlier than expected, potentially on Saturday, June 20.
Although Cambridge is the spiritual home of New Zealand thoroughbred racing, harness racing has always been strong there and will be even more so in the future as it could be one of only two tracks in the North Island, so it will have even more meetings.
Cambridge was supposed to host the $1.275 million Jewels yesterday but the event was cancelled because of Covid-19. But while no crowds will be allowed today, the return to racing will be welcome in the Waikato, and Ardmore trainer Telfer is the man to follow.
He not only has strong numbers today but his horses have looked fit at their two recent workouts and that is due to his training facility at Stonewall Stud having one of the best training tracks in New Zealand. The 1000m track is the envy of plenty and Telfer admits it has helped to prepare his team faster than some of his rivals after lockdown.
"Our horses racing this weekend have had two workouts at Pukekohe but effectively three proper runs to prepare for today because we can work them race speed at home," he said.
"It is a big advantage having such a good track and most of the ones we are taking to Cambridge are ready to go."
Telfer rates The Lone Ranger (race seven) his best hope of the day even though he lacks dazzling high speed.
"He can be a bit one-paced but he is a horse you can tell by his work when he is in the zone and that is how he feels," says Telfer.
"At home here, he has been finishing his work with plenty more to offer and he will be handy at some stage.
"I can see these races having some sectionals where drives try and button off the speed because of their lack of recent racing but he is one horse who won't need that."
An inside second line draw is Telfer's biggest concern with Olivia Rachel (race three), who has also been working well.
"If she had drawn the front line, she would have been our best chance. She can still win but she will need that ounce of luck."
Telfer opts for Pott Luck as the better of his two chances in race two but warns punters Doc Holliday (race four) has improved a lot since last campaign and he can overcome his second line draw.
Harness racing returns to Auckland on Thursday night at Alexandra Park.