Tough draw for Southland star

Franco Ledger is preparing for his next open class campaign, the the $150,000 New Zealand Free-For-All.
Franco Ledger is preparing for his next open class campaign, the the $150,000 New Zealand Free-For-All.

Southern star Franco Ledger has a woeful draw for tomorrow's $150,000 New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington.

The race is over 1609m and starts on a bend.

The 5-year-old entire will need luck from barrier No 4 on the second line.

Ryal Bush trainer-driver Hamish Hunter said today Franco Ledger would be rested after tomorrow's race and prepared for the $30,000 Central Otago Cup at Omakau on January 2.

Three of the cup starters this year - Franco Ledger (first), Mah Sish (second) and Major Mark (fifth) - lined up in the New Zealand Cup at Addington on Tuesday.

Mah Sish finished fourth in the glamour event, Major Mark was fifth and Franco Ledger ran eighth.

Franco Ledger hung during the final lap of the New Zealand Cup. He battled hard in the concluding stages and was coming back at the finish.

''He's in the elite class and on an elite day, it's pressure stuff,'' Hunter said.

''Some of  the elite can lift to another level.''

Franco Ledger is in his first season of campaigning in the open class ranks.

Hunter's other  runner at Addington tomorrow, In The Kitty, starts from No 3 in the $18,000 Sires' Stakes Silver.

Stablemate Canardly Lover is not racing tomorrow after bruising a hoof when fourth at Addington on Tuesday.

Winton-trained Poacher, who ran second at Addington on Tuesday, has drawn the outside of the front line for tomorrow's Amalgamated Food Distributors Ltd Pace.

Trainer Des Baynes said the bad draw would make it a difficult task for Poacher.

''It's going to make it hard, but he's fit and well and feeling good,'' Baynes said today.

Eight of the 13 horses in the Amalgamated Food Distributors Ltd Pace have strong links to Southland - Poacher, Phantom Grin and Spectactular are trained in the province, Motu Prince Of Peru and Run Fatboy Run were formerly trained in the south, Awesome Prospect and Bit Of A Legend are owned in Southland and Lively Shard was bred by Southlanders.

The Southland Times