Forgotten Highway (left) is back in action and headed towards the Easter Cup. Photo: Race Images.
Forgotten Highway is to be forgotten no more
The New Zealand Cup contestant has been refreshed and recharged and has a new cup on his agenda.
The Mitchell Kerr trained pacer returned after a short stint in the harness racing wilderness to win at Wednesday’s Rangiora trials.
It was the first time the five-year-old had been sighted since competing in the Green Mile at Methven in December.
Then, Kerr decided to give Forgotten Highway time out rather than take him on an Auckland Cup campaign.
That decision looks to have paid off with the horse returning in premium condition.
“We gave him a good let up and he has really filled out and did what we were hoping he was going to do,” Kerr said.
“The main target is the Easter Cup, so we will try to get him cherry ripe for that.”
Forgotten Highway paced 2600m from a 30m handicap in 3.20.2 on Wednesday.
Kerr said the horse gave him a great feel.
“He was really good, I was really happy with him.”
Forgotten Highway was likely to stay close to home as he worked towards another tilt at this year’s New Zealand Cup.
Kerr has ruled out any trips north for the horse.
“I am more in to the staying races with him.”
“The last time we went up to Auckland he got really sick, so I thought we would go for the Easter Cup.
“There is the Superstars, as well, if we see fit.”
“Obviously, we will have him ready for those early cup races coming up.”
Forgotten Highway ran eighth in last year’s New Zealand Cup behind Thefixer.
Experiencing his first season on the open stage should set the horse up well as he comes back for his next tilt at New Zealand’s big race.
“It was going season where he had to step up and mix it with the big boys and the following season it should pay dividends.”
“The proof will be in the pudding, but so far, so good.”
Promising four-year-old Smokin By took stable star honours at Kerr’s barn in Forgotten Highway’s recent absence.
The pacer produced a shock failure in last weekend’s Northern Southland Cup, when dropping out to run last.
Smokin By was found to have been suffering from colic after the race and has slowly been improving since.
“It took about an hour-and -a-half to two-hours for his heart-rate to come down.”
“We have treated him up, but hopefully it does not have too much on an affect on him.”
“The initial few days after the race he was a bit dead in the paddock, but he seems to have picked up now.”
The episode has put plans for the horse to compete in the Taylor Mile and New Zealand Messenger Championship up in the air.
“I will just see how the week goes and make my mind up after that.”
Monbet also stepped out at Wednesday’s Rangiora trials.
The champion trotter won a 2600m heat from a 40m mark in 3.22.4.