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The Grinfromeartoear gelding was far from disgraced in the Central Otago Trotting Cup on Wednesday, finishing just 1.4 lengths off Four Starzzz Flash in the group 3 feature.
Trainer-driver Robbie Holmes has been thrilled with the 4yr-old's progress this season.
''It was a big step up for him, really,'' Holmes said.
''I thought he went super and probably didn't handle the [slushy] track as well as I would have liked, but he gets a bit lackadaisical around the 400m mark and he drifts off half a length and he's got to make it up again.
''He was getting home well at the finish.''
There is no Franco Ledger, Four Starzzz Flash or Sleepy Tripp in this race, and Holmes has no fears about his ability to compete against rivals such as New Revenue, Franco Nautica and Christian Ruler.
''The other day was his biggest task to date and he's come through with flying colours, as far as I'm concerned,'' he said.
Holmes also has a strong contender in a small but select $8000 3yr-old mobile pace field, where Arma Legend has drawn on the outside of a seven-horse field. Four of the seven runners are last-start winners.
The Mach Three gelding had his last run at Addington on December 15 when he downed Race Cafe, and Holmes expects to see some zip from Arma Legend if he gets the right run from the wide gate.
''He's probably one that's better off coming off their backs, but obviously he's got to be pretty handy,'' Holmes said.
''He's a good show in that race. He's got a lot of high speed.''
Sara Holley (race 9) is the best of Holmes' other hopes after an impressive win at Rangiora on December 31. She will take on stablemate Miss Lisa, while Oursjean will start in race 10.
''I really like her [Sara Holley]. She is a nice wee filly. She's gone super in her two starts to date and she's finding the line nicely.''