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Dark Horse has found almost the perfect race to end her breakout season.
The $40,000 Uncut Gems Trot at Addington tonight is ideal for her but in a totally perfect scenario Dark Horse wouldn't even be eligible for it.
The new series is for horses four-years-old and over who are Sires' Stakes eligible but have yet to win a race worth more than $50,000 or run in the top two (trot) or top three (pacing race) at the Jewels.
Dark Horse sneaks into that criteria because she was third, after being heavily backed, in the four-year-old trot at the Jewels two weeks ago.
Trainer Nathan Williamson would rather have won then and not been eligible for tonight's 2600m standing start, but he loves the conditions of the race and as a result it is back on his radar.
"Since she didn't win at the Jewels, or run second, this race couldn't be more perfect," says the Southland trainer. "It is back to a standing start, not a huge field and nowhere as strong as the Jewels but still worth big money.
"And I really wanted to give her a start at Addington before she went for a spell because she will probably race there quite a bit next season.
"So maybe it all works out well," he said.
While Dark Horse was anything but disgraced at the Jewels on a day when horses coming from off the marker pegs struggled, Williamson is adamant the best wasn't seen of the speed freak.
"It was her first big trip away and she didn't really settle or eat that well.
"So I left her at Dad's stables (Oamaru) and he said she is far more relaxed now than she was two weeks ago so I am sure she will be better this time around."
She faces a 20m handicap tonight, but Williamson was confident enough to advise Dark Horse's owners to pay a $2000 late entry fee to get into the race.
Northern trotter Lemond, who also came from off the speed for fourth to Dark Horse's third at the Jewels, is an obvious class danger tonight even though his improvement curve seems to have momentarily flattened out.
Tonight's Uncut Gem for the male pacers looks ideal for Cash N Flow, who has had no luck lately after galloping from a stand and then drawing poor in the Jewels.
The mares Uncut Gem looks the most even of the three new races but if northern mare Rocknroll Princess can race up to her national record win two starts ago she has to be hard to beat.
- By Michael Guerin