Muscle Mountain and Ben Hope were victorious at Addington three weeks ago
Improvement from his last win could make Muscle Mountain an impossible peak for his opposition to climb at Addington on Saturday night.
The Greg and Nina Hope-trained square-gaiter is one of the pack of raw and highly exciting trotting talents that will compete in a two-year-old event over 1980m.
Muscle Mountain impressed when sitting parked to win his first tote race at Addington last month for driver Ben Hope.
Hope said the Muscle Hill trotter had thrived since that victory and should strip in excellent order tomorrow night.
“He won quite well last time, but he feels like has come on since then.
“He has been working with a bit of purpose at home, so all signs are good with him.”
Muscle Mountain faces a sterner test when meeting the strong field that has been assembled this week.
That opens up the possibility of the two-year-old facing more race pressure than he has previously.
Hope said Muscle Mountain was the kind of horse that should handle that.
“He is still not the full package yet – all two-year-old trotters are capable of galloping – but he loves to trot and he is not one to gallop for no reason at all.”
Drawing barrier nine under the race’s preferential barrier draw may see Muscle Mountain settle further back than the parked position he occupied in his last start.
Hope is confident his charge, who was a tearaway leader in his only other start, can produce a big finish from off the pace.
“He is pretty versatile; he feels like he has got a bit of speed, but he is tough as well.
“It will be great to see how he matches up against some of the horses he hasn’t raced on Friday night.”
Midnight Dash also represents the Hope stable in tomorrow night’s event.
The two-year-old went a sound race, but was not able to foot it with Muscle Mountain, in their last outing at Addington.
The pair are two of four horses, alongside Chinski and Fighting Fire, to bring race experience to the event.
Chinski has impressed when winning both of his northern starts for trainer-driver Sean McCaffrey.
The Peak gelding has looked a professional package in both of his wins and scored in a similar mile-rate to Muscle Mountain in his last outing at Alexandra Park.
The four more experienced trotters will clash with a group of first starters that have excellent trial form and premium genetics.
Few come in to the race with a bigger reputation or bigger price tag than former sales-topping yearling, Ultimate Stride.
The Phil Williamson-trained trotter ran third in his first public outing in a Rangiora trial before prepping for tomorrow night’s race with two sedate southern hitouts.
My Moments Now, a half-sister to Oscar Bonavena by Andover Hall, beat Ultimate Stride home in his Rangiora trial.
She went on to win her next public appearance against her own sex for trainer Matt Purvis.