Puma Road and Steven Reid winning on mile night at Alexandra Park. Photo: Trish Dunell.
A mobile mile win from the outside of the front row is about as good a lead up as one could hope for heading in to next week’s Harness Jewels.
Unless you are Steven Reid, that is.
The Pukekohe horseman reined the horse he trains, Puma Road, to victory against the older horses at Alexandra Park on Friday night, stopping the clock at 1.58.3.
The three-year-old son of The Pres is first emergency for next Saturday’s $125,000 Group 1 3YO Ruby at Cambridge.
One could rightfully assume Reid is hoping for a scratching after tonight’s win, but it’s not the case.
“I’m not really that fussed, to be honest.
“He showed to me tonight that he just can’t go early; he hasn’t got the ringcraft to be rushed off the gate.”
Next week at Cambridge, getting back against the likes of Winterfell and Wobelee would be a cardinal sin.
So, if the scratching comes, Reid will probably truck the hour down the road and bank $3140 for turning up, but with no great confidence that he can earn more than that that.
He is intent on racing the horse through until the end of the season and capitalizing on the benefits available to three-year-olds.
“Tonight was a full penalty, but the next one will be half off, and he’s just trotting so bloody well at the moment, I’d be mad to turn him out.
“He’ll go until he tells me he’s had enough.”
One race earlier, Reid prepared Bubble Gum to win in the hands of visiting Canterbury driver Ricky May.
The former Benny Hill-trained gelding sat parked three-wide for the last lap but was too tough in the finish, grinding out a 1.57.7 win.
“Ricky said he never had to ask him for anything, he just kept on rolling.
“That’s the way he’s best driven.”
It was a big turnaround in fortunes from his last-start effort where he dropped out to finish well off the winners three weeks ago.
“He got really keen that night; it was a run best forgotten.”
Hill sent two horses up to old friend Reid a few months ago, the other being progressive filly Double O Heaven, which flashed home for second a few races later behind Ivana Flybye.
“Bubble Gum at least won’t be going back south; he’ll stay up here until he is sold.”