He’s as tough as teak and Art Major gelding Laver used those qualities to win today’s Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Trotting Cup at Ascot Park. Aided by One Change, Pace N Pride and Tommy Waterhouse losing their chances early in the Group Three harness racing feature, regular pilot Gerard O’Reilly took the six-year-old to the front and the horse simply ran the legs off his opposition, beating a game Classie Brigade by two and three quarter lengths.
The winning time was 3-23.2 with the last 800 timed at 55.2 and 400 metres in 27.8.
Co-trainer Geoff Dunn said when he first started standing starts he went well. However he suddenly began missing. “But now he’s back to it and beginning really good,” he said.
The well bred five year old is beginning to show he’s a consistent genuine performer at the top grade.
“It took us a while to figure him out. He was always tough, and he had to run them off their feet. We got his throat operated on after the Hannon Memorial and it’s paid dividends. He had a bit of an ulcer there and they cut it away. They couldn’t believe he was still racing. He’s showing more speed now.”
Laver is owned by Dunn and Bob and Jenny Sanford who race his dam, Venus Serena.
“They’ve been great supporters and this win is good because the sales are coming up and I’ll be able to talk them into putting their hands in their pockets (laughter).”
Geoff trains Laver in partnership with his son James.
“He’s fantastic round the stables. He organises everything, he’s really passionate. It’s a real privilege to work with your son every day and I’m rapt about it.”