Franco Ledger wins the $30,000 Central Otago Cup at Omakau in January last year. Photo by Tayler Strong
He was the southern star of the spring, and Franco Ledger is
back to defend his Central Otago Trotting Cup crown at Omakau
Not that it will matter massively to his owners.
Franco Ledger has taken the Whatever Syndicate - which is
comprised of a bunch of mates, mainly from Otago and
Southland - on a great ride over the past two seasons and the
syndicate members are known for their exuberant celebrations.
''It'll be a big day win, lose or draw for them - they'll
probably be there celebrating regardless,'' Hunter said.
Franco Ledger had a well-earned break after his two runs in
New Zealand Cup week, to which Hunter gave mixed marks.
''I thought the [New Zealand] Cup run was slightly below what
we had hoped for, but then again, that's group 1 racing at
the highest level - it's all a part of being able to mix it
with them,'' he said.
The draw and the unique mile start point at Addington made
Franco Ledger's task in the New Zealand Free-For-All too
''I was very very pleased with him then. He didn't get a run.
That type of race is luck on top of luck on top of luck,''
''He's very well. He might lack racing, but other than that,
we're very pleased with them.''
Sleepy Tripp is one of Franco Ledger's rivals in the cup, but
is struggling to find winning form since his return from
injury, running four straight seconds in his last four
starts, while Four Starzzz Flash was excellent running under
four minutes in the Ashburton Cup.
The Whatever Syndicate also co-own In The Kitty along with
Hunter, and he is drawn to get a soft run behind Robyn's
The Falcon Seelster colt deservedly got out of the maiden
grade with a one-and-a-quarter-length win at Winton on
''He's been a really nice 3yr old - he was placed in the
Sires Stakes Silver, so that's probably his level,'' Hunter
''The horse in front looks favourable and it's 2000m so
hopefully we're no worse than three back anyway.''
Hunter owns Highview Robyn, who is not too far from her first
''She's a lower-grade maiden, and she's been going around
every week and funnily enough, she's getting slightly
better,'' he said.
''She's drawn reasonably, too. The distance is right up her
alley and the class of horse is right up her alley.''