Hunter out to extend cup streak with Franco Ledger
Franco Ledger will attempt to improve a fine record for his Ryal Bush trainer-driver Hamish Hunter in the Wairio Cup when he resumes racing at Winton on Saturday.
Hunter has won the Wairio Cup three times as a trainer - Josephine Bret (1984), Yandoon (1992) and Grenadier (2004). He drove Josephine Bret while Yandoon and Grenadier were handled by brother Peter.
Franco Ledger, who has not raced since finishing fourth in the New Zealand Free-For-All, is on 40m for the $20,000 2400m race.
Hunter also has Devil May Care, a last start winner at Wyndham on November 17, in the cup. Devil May Care is off 10m.
"He (Franco Ledger) had three weeks off with just light work to freshen up. He seems to have come back nice," Hunter said.
Hunter will be back in the sulky of Franco Ledger, who has been driven in his seven races this season by Colin De Filippi for a win in the Hannon Memorial free-for-all at Oamaru and five minor placings.
"I had some health issues and got hurt when bumped about by a horse and Colin was able to fill in," Hunter said.
He has driven Franco Ledger in 12 of his 16 wins, including the Invercargill, Waikouaiti, Wyndham and Central Otago Cups and Southern Country Cups Final.
The Highlight, a maiden winner at Forbury Park on Friday, has her next race at Winton where she is eligible for a harness plus bonus.
The Highlight capped a string of minor placings with a win at her sixth start. She is trained at Roxburgh by Geoff and Jude Knight for Tapanui breeders Ross and Bev Ludemann. The 4-year-old mare is a half-sister by McArdle to Lively Hero, who won four races from the Knight stable for the Ludemanns before being sold to Australia.
Greg and Nina Hope, whose stable is in great form, have set Ranfurly Rulz for a C0 race at Ashburton next week. The race has a harness plus bonus for 3-year-olds. Ranfurly Rulz won a trial at Ashburton last Tuesday by 10 lengths. The son of Bettor's Delight, Victoria Rulz has not raced since winning at Addington in July at his fourth start.
Victoria Rulz, who won four races, is a half-sister by Badlands Hanover to Jason Rulz, winner of 12 races from the Hope stable.
The Hope's teenage son, Ben, a keen helper in the stable, has high hopes for True South on the West Coast holiday circuit. True South, the winner at Rangiora (grass) and Roxburgh when trained by Ken Barron, has not raced for three months.
Graeme Anderson, the top strike rate trainer for the South Island this season, has King Kenny ready to resume.
King Kenny won four from eight starts for Westwood-based Anderson last season when he was in partnership with Amber Hoffman.
King Kenny had been away from racing for 19 months away with a hind leg problem. He won at Cromwell in his second start back but was sidelined again in April with a tear to a hind suspensory ligament and underwent platelet rich plasma therapy.
Now six, King Kenny won two of nine starts for Tim Butt.