Franco Ledger in top condition for NZ Cup
''This is a once in a lifetime event, we'll certainly be enjoying every moment of it.''
Those were the comments of Brendon McIntyre, who part-owns Southland's New Zealand Cup runner, Franco Ledger.
The Ryal Bush pacer is in tip-top condition for his bid to become the first Southland-trained winner of the race in 37 years.
The cup is the country's premier harness race, of 3200m, and will be held at Addington Raceway in Christchurch tomorrow.
The complete list of Franco Ledger's owners is trainer-driver Hamish Hunter and the What Ever Syndicate, which comprises of McIntyre and Rob Wilks, of Invercargill, Paul O'Neill, John Catherwood and Bevan Dowling, of Hyde, Tony O'Neill, of Gimmerburn; Bruce Harvie, of Middlemarch, Mike Cornelissen, of Mosgiel, Ken McConnell, of Clyde, and Neil Tisdall, of Perth.
McIntyre said the syndicate planned to have a car boot party in the members' car park at Addington.
''We're thinking we could have 70 or 80 people at it, syndicate members and family and supporters. There could be more.''
Interest in Franco Ledger's quest for the cup had been high throughout Southland and Otago, McIntyre said.
''The support the syndicate's had has been overwhelming.''
McIntyre feels privileged to have a horse starting in the country's premier harness race.
''It's something you dream about and I can tell you, there's been a fair bit of dreaming going on in the last two weeks.''
He has confidence in trainer-driver Hamish Hunter and Franco Ledger.
''Man and beast are in a good place at the moment,'' McIntyre quipped.
Hunter jogged Franco Ledger at Colin and Julie de Filippi's training property in Christchurch this morning and will give the entire a light jog in the morning.
''He's as good as I can get him,'' Hunter said today.
Hunter's brother, Henderson, trained and drove Trusty Scot to win the cup in 1978.
- The Southland Times