Hawera trainer Paul Moseley has no reason to doubt his consistent galloper Mauna Kea heading into Saturday’s El Cheapo Cars Whyte Handicap (1600m) at Trentham but admits his mind has been working over-time pondering what might prevent the son of Per Incanto from claiming the lion’s share of the $40,000 stake.
From the testing Trentham track to second-up syndrome and the looming shadows of top-rater Dolcetto and improving race-rival Our Bandit, Moseley doesn’t ooze the confidence of the punters that have made his last-start winner the $3.20 favourite.
But he would not be surprised to see his ginger horse, affectionately known as Borris, salute again.
“We didn't expect to win fresh-up and I'm a great believer in the second-up syndrome, where they quite often go poorly after winning like he did. But he's a simple horse and he just does what he's got to do,” Moseley said.
“He’s just Borris, he just goes out and does it. He doesn’t seem to improve from one run to the next. He has been like that since we got him.
“He basically jumps out and sits wherever you want him.”
After initially pre-training the now five-year-old, Moseley was pleased to receive the horse back from good supporter Allan Sharrock, who trained Mauna Kea for his first seven starts for a couple of placings.
“We’ve had a lot of Allan’s cast-offs over the years owned by Eddie Bourke, but even though Eddie isn’t in the ownership of this one, Allan had it in his mind to send him back to us.
“When we first got him, he was a little nugget chestnut horse with no brains, but he has been very consistent.”
In his subsequent 13 career starts for Moseley, Mauna Kea has won six races and been placed on a further four occasions.
Robbie Hannam will ride Mauna Kea on Saturday at 54.5kgs, receiving a whopping seven-kilo pull in the weights from last-start stakes winner Dolcetto on a testing Heavy11 track.
“He's never been to Wellington in the heavy so that's what's going through my head, it's the ground basically, and they don’t call it the punter’s graveyard for no reason,” Moseley said.
“They’ve all got to get through it and the weight-relief from Dolcetto has got to help. The other horse I am a bit scared of is Wayne Marshments one, The Bandit. It looks like it's coming into form.”
With just four horses in work, Moseley, who comes from a renowned racing family, mixes training horses and working for Fonterra, with his wife Dale also an integral part of the operation.
“We could do with a few more in work, but it works well balancing work with Fonterra and training a small team,” Moseley said.
Moseley is also a fan of his home-training base, which is one of a number of racecourses earmarked for closure from racing, as the industry looks to consolidate.
“I think it will carry on as a training centre. It's the best track in Taranaki,” Moseley said.
“There are around 60 horses working here, a third of which are trotters, and there are seven or eight tracks to work on, with a plough, grass and sand. Hawera-trained horses have always done well and I think a lot of it is down to having good training tracks.” – NZ Racing Desk