Hunter has Franco ready for cup assault
An army of supporters are backing Hamish Hunter and his charge, Franco Ledger, in today's New Zealand Cup at Addington.
''The support has been phenomenal,'' Hunter said yesterday.
''I hope I don't let them down.''
Franco Ledger will attempt to become the first Southland-trained horse to win the cup since Lunar Chance prevailed 37 years ago.
Five-year-old Franco Ledger has delighted his connections in all three starts this season. He fired warning shots at cup rivals by winning the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru (September 16) and Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington (September 7).
He got clear late and finished fast for fourth in the Ashburton Flying Stakes (October 22).
His second to cup favourite Terror To Love at the Addington trials last week also heartened Hunter.
''Everything's going very well and he's had a good week on the training track. He's as good as I can get him,'' the horseman said.
Hunter is hopeful Franco Ledger will begin safely.
''The first 100m will be a telling part of the race for many and I'm one of them.
''It's a privilege to be in the race. We'll give it our best and whatever happens, we'll walk away with a smile afterwards.''
Hunter's other runner today, Canardly Lover, is in the last of 12 races on the programme, which stretches over 6hr 40min.
Canardly Lover's half-brother, Minstrel Boy, won his debut at Wyndham on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Waikouaiti trotter Pattisun has been retired after breaking down last week.
He was sore after a training run and a veterinary examination confirmed he had damaged a suspensory ligament in his near side hind leg. The chestnut injured a suspensory ligament in his off side hind leg last year.