Redemption on Hope’s mind

Ben Hope will be out for redemption when Muscle Mountain returns to Addington on Show Day for the Group One Dominion.

And it is not the kind of redemption that may first come to mind for many trotting fans.

Muscle Mountain will be out to go one better than his epic second placing in the race last year, labelled one of the greatest trotting spectacles of all time.

The big striding squaregaiter came off second best, but only gained admiration with his runner-up prize at the end of his titanic homestraight battle with Sundees Son in last year’s Dominion.

But that’s not the race that Hope is using as a driving force ahead of this year’s running of the Group One feature.

Defeat in last year’s Rowe Cup still hurts.

Again, Muscle Mountain ran a huge race, finishing fourth, but it came after an early gallop.

And although it was the horse that put his feet in the wrong place, Hope still won’t lay the blame with Muscle Mountain.

"I have been thinking about that race for the last six months," Hope said.

"I don’t like to blame the horse — I didn’t step him away.

"So, I will be doing everything I can to get him away on Friday."

Muscle Mountain has had a nearly perfect build-up into the Dominion.

The only concern came when the trotter was downed late in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup by Dominion rival Oscar Bonavena.

That led to trainers Greg and Nina Hope adding sliding blinds to Muscle Mountain’s gear, and the results were devastating in the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile.