The Fiery Ginga ready for battle at Addington
Alan Clark has never been one to shirk from a challenge and he's not stopping now.
The Mosgiel horseman will again hit the road and head to Addington tonight in search of feature race gold when he lines his brilliant warhorse The Fiery Ginga in the Ordeal Trotting Cup.
A prominent figure on the open class trotting scene for more than three years now Clark and The Fiery Ginga have drawn their fair share of criticism but each taunt thrown their way has been brushed off with a tough performance and that's what looks in store again tonight.
The 106-run veteran returns to the races off the back of a slightly disappointing fifth last week, against most of the same horses he faces tonight.
Clark has a simple explanation for the lack lustre effort.
"We will put that one down to driver error," Clark said.
"I tried to burn him at both ends and, when you are racing off handicaps, you just can't do that.
"It's OK when you are down south and can get around them easy enough but, up here, against the good horses you just can't.
"So when we do get back to handicap racing I think I am going to have to revisit my tactics."
Clark doesn't need to worry about starting off any long marks tonight with the Ordeal Cup a simple 2600 metre mobile affair. Drawn wide at barrier seven, Clark has few other options than to go forward and hope for the best.
"I'm a bit worried about the two horses of Mark Purdon's who have drawn well but from out there we sort of have to go forward and try to get handy without using too much petrol.
"I'm predicting it's going to be a pretty quickly run race so the key will not be doing a lot early and saving some energy to take the sting out of them in the latter stages of the race."
Purdon, and his new training partner Natalie Rasmussen, will be represented in the race by last start Harness Jewels winner Cyclone U Bolt and speedy mare Escapee.
Both have drawn well in barriers two and three respectively with the under-rated Uncas jumping from barrier one.
The race sees the return of Vulcan and well-performed trotter Dr Hook.
The latter's stable mate, Stig, is back to do battle again after a poor performance last week and has the added handicap of drawing nine at the mobile arm.
Clark spent most of yesterday travelling to Timaru to inspect damage on his new property in South Canterbury after Tuesday wild storm caused havoc across the east coast.
Clark is set to move into the property in early November, a shift which will cut down his travelling time each week significantly. He said there were a few trees which had been uprooted on the property but that they had escaped relatively lightly.
"At this stage we only really have the fences up, the barn is the next project.
"We have to be out of our place on November 1, so we plan to be in here and up and running around then."
The Fiery Ginga was last night rated a $6 chance to win the Ordeal Cup with Escapee a $3.20 favourite from her good draw and Stig a $4 chance.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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