Clasina Marina winning at Methven earlier this year. Photo: Race Images.
The Canterbury Country Cups series is set for an intriguing finish in the Mt Hutt TC Cup at Methven on Sunday with the top five points scorers all engaged and a chance to win the $6000 bonus.
With double points on offer, or 34 to the winner and 24 for second, a win by either Johnny Eyre (51.5 points), Don Domingo (49), Kardesler (47), Mossdale Rose (46) or Clasina Maria (44) will see them take the bonus, regardless of who runs second.
If one of them doesn’t win, but some are involved in the finish, then there’ll be a rush for the calculators.
Acolyte and Boomer Bailey are next on the points table that are starting in the Mt Hutt TC Cup, but with 17 points they cannot head off Johnny Eyre.
Much of the interest will centre around the backmarkers Don Domingo (40m) and Clasina Maria (30m) and the latter is clearly in the best form of her career.
She was super last time in the Waimate Cup, steaming home from the tail of the field for fifth in a race dominated by the front runners Acolyte and Boomer Bailey.
Before that she was left parked and shunted three-wide down the back in a race won by Don Domingo at Addington, while in the Hororata Cup she was unlucky when denied racing room in the run home.
Four starts ago, Clasina Marina showed what she can do with a good run when she proved too strong for Diamonds N Cash and Don Domingo in the Amberley Cup.
“At Methven (Hororata Cup) she was just humming in behind them and would have bolted in had she got the gap earlier,” said regular driver Jessica Young.
“And I had a big smile on my dial after Waimate the way she flew home. She just got too far back and they were going so hard all the way that I never got a chance to get into it.
“She seems to have been showing a bit more speed in her last few starts and she seemed as good as ever when I worked her the other day.
“The main issue is going to be the 30 metres I think; she often gallops away but runs into it (her hopples) so she’s always going forward.”
Clasina Maria has won seven races and all of them have been on grass tracks since winning her debut at Omakau over two years ago.
“She’s not that bad on the all-weather tracks, but something always seems to go against her, like a bad draw or getting attacked.
“But I think her form looks so much better on the grass because those races are usually over longer distances and that allows her to relax.”
Whatever the outcome on Sunday, Clasina Maria will have her usual big following of fans, or the 30-odd owners who make up the One Chance Syndicate which races her on lease.
The five-year-old daughter of Art Major began racing for trainer Paul Young and his wife Barbara along with breeder Richard Sissons, but then the syndicate made a “one-off” payment to lease her for her racing career, which meant they no longer paid any training fees of vet bills.
The Youngs will get her back for breeding one day.
“They’re mostly people who had never raced a horse before, hence the name of the syndicate,” said Jessica.
“One of them is Pete Drummond, a retired friend of dad’s in Ashburton who travels to where ever Clasina Maria races.
“She’s quite well-bred and is the last filly foal her of dam who died a few years ago.”