Franco Ledger shaping well
Ryal Bush horseman Hamish Hunter hopes to have Franco Ledger racing early next month.
The open class pacer put on a lot of weight when turned out and has completed three months of training. He is pencilled in to resume in the Group III $25,000 Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington on September 5. It is a 2600m free-for-all stand with the winner guaranteed a start in the $700,000 New Zealand Cup at the Garden City track on November 11.
The Vase was also Franco Ledger's first outing last year (fourth) and in 2012 (first).
''Everything's fine with him,'' Hunter said of Franco Ledger's progress.
The 7-year-old entire closed his last campaign by winning the Wyndham Cup in track record time of 3:57 (3200m) in February. He was 0.6sec outside Changeover's New Zealand record.
One of Franco Ledger's stablemates, Pay Me Mach (two wins from seven starts), is likely to return to racing next month.
Jango Fett, who won four of 15 starts last season, is in his fourth week of jogging with Branxholme trainer-driver Kirk Larsen.
The son of Western Ideal was turned out at Raglan for two months after finishing ninth in the 3-year-old colts and geldings' race at the Harness Jewels in Cambridge on May 31.
His 3-year-old half-brother, Mojito, will contest a qualifying trial at Gore on Sunday. Mojito won well against the learners at the Ascot Park workouts last Saturday.
Another member of the stable, Tuapeka Glory (C0), rallied gamely for second, beaten a nose by Machvicar (C1), in a C0-1 workout at Ascot Park.
Agent Three, who disappointed at Forbury Park on August 14, has run his last race for Larsen. The Mach Three 4-year-old is on the market with a career record of four placings from eight starts.
Promising 3-year-old First Flight In has been placed on the unruly for a maiden event at Gore on Sunday.
Gear changes have been made since he broke in the run up and in the early stages of his campaign-opener at Ascot Park on August 10. He finished last of eight.
''I've put bloomers on his hopples so he can feel them, pulled the hopples up a couple of holes and the shorteners will be in,'' Invercargill trainer Phil Devery said.
First Flight In was given a quiet run for fourth at the Ascot Park workouts last Saturday.
''I think I've got him sorted out for this week. Hopefully, he'll be all right,'' Devery said.
''He has got ability.''
- The Southland Times