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  • Writer's pictureBrian Cross

Yesberg trio bring hot trial form to Addington

Harnesslink's Brad Reid talks to Trent Yesberg ahead of racing at Addington 30 September 2022

Harness racing action heads to Addington Raceway tomorrow night (Sep. 30) for an action-packed twelve-race card, headlined by the 52nd edition of the time-honoured Canterbury Classic at Group Two level.

The likes of Self Assured (Bettor’s Delight), Spankem (Bettor’s Delight), Cranbourne (Sir Lincoln), and South Coast Arden (Somebeachsomewhere) will be making their race day resumptions as the road to the New Zealand Cup clicks up another gear or two. The undercard is greeted with some terrific nominations and with a capacity field of 15 maiden trotters in the first on the card, harness fans will be needing to clear the decks to not miss out on the late afternoon start time of 4:40pm. Where many punters see a maiden trot and run a mile, I tend to see an opportunity and with several winning chances from the 2600m stand the IRT Your Horse Our Passion Trot should set the tone nicely for some fireworks later on the program. One of the leading hopes will come in the form of debutant, Feel The Moment (Andover Hall). The Trent Yesberg trained trotter has been working impressively towards his career opener at the workouts and trials and has the breeding on his side to be a progressive horse for the future.

FEEL THE MOMENT TRIAL Feel The Moment is the second foal out of the ill-fated Pegasus Spur mare Any Moment Now. She is a half-sister to the G1 winning Open Class star, Oscar Bonavena, five-time G3 winner Dr Hook and 10-win trotting mare My Moments Now among her other siblings that have won a combined 98 races between them.

Speaking to his trainer, it’s clear the young horseman from Ripple Creek thinks a lot of his charge and has done for some time.

“He was close to trialing as a two-year-old, but I just felt like mentally and physically he wasn’t quite up to it. He could run the times, but he just wasn’t quite ready. We turned him out and gave him a good break and when we brought him back in, he was pretty much unbeaten through the winter other than his first trial where he galloped through little fault of his own. One galloped in front of him and he sort of took fright at it more than anything.

“He worked like a nice horse, but this time round he has been working like a good horse. We were thinking about giving him a few more trials but his trial last week showed he is at least ready for a maiden race.

“He is a big, long horse and probably one of the longest striding horses we’ve got. He gave the sulky a bit of a tap at the trials, so you need a long cart for him. He was mentally weak early on and would put the boot in quite a bit, but this time round I’ve taken the head check off him and he just bowls around and you can do anything you want with him and were thrilled with the way he’s been going.

“It’s an awful draw, no doubt about that. I’ve got no doubts he will step away, he’s a very good-mannered horse. It will depend how fare he ends back on the rails, and he might get crossed by a few but being a maiden trot, you’ve just got to take your medicine a bit early and see what happens, but touch wood he’s pretty sensible,” said Yesberg.

Yesberg is well known in breeding circles for being an astute preparer of yearlings for the national sales and it was through that role and a wee bit of serendipity tomorrow night’s debutant ended up in his colours.

Feel The Moment as a yearling

“At this stage I do all the agistment, weaning and pre-training for his co-breeder and part owner, John Purvis and his young horses. This guy ended up getting a wee nick on his back leg when he was a foal and had to come a wee bit earlier to be able to treat it. He was completely unhandled, and I had him from five months old.

“He went through the sales but ended up getting passed in due to making reserve. I really really liked the horse and when we went into lock down, like I lot of people I was getting a bit bored and had a couple of yearlings there and thought I would break them in and see what happens. As soon as I started breaking him in, I absolutely loved him, so we negotiated to buy 75% of him for the stable,” he said.

Feel The Moment will face a stern test of his ability with the likes of Paramount Princess who was a solid fourth after leading up in her debut last week in the Sires Stakes Classique, an in form Izia who has been twice runner up from just two starts and the closely related Helloveamoment who was a nice second on debut at Motukarara last Sunday.

Another Yesberg runner with impressive trial form is the well related Uptown Funk (Art Major) in the second on the card. The son of Art Major is the fourth foal from Uptown Attitude, a four-win Christian Cullen daughter of Queen of Hearts winning race mare, Angela Jane.

The two-year-old resumes from a two-month spell having put in some mixed performances over the winter where he opened his career with three unplaced finishes. He has had just the one Rangiora trial to prepare for tomorrow night’s resumption where he was very good, downing the Regan Todd trained Hail Lucius who is the winner of two, and the Purdon/Cullen trained With Style who is also a race winner.

UPTOWN FUNK TRIAL “He’s been all brawn and no brains so far. He’s a very good horse ability wise but maybe mentally a wee bit weak and that’s what I say to the owners as well so I’m not hiding anything here,” he laughed.

“He has phenomenal speed and a lot of ability but mentally he’s got a wee bit to learn. Last week he settled good at the trials and Tim said if he had of pulled him out at the top of the straight, he would have won by a couple of lengths but it’s hard to know what horse will show up. Two is probably too good of a draw for him tomorrow, it would be nice just to tuck him in and have him flying home, but it could be too good to ignore,” he said.

Uptown Funk has had the ultimate gear change since he was last seen at the races and the feeling in the camp is that being two stones lighter may just be the making of him. “He was pretty average early on in his career and while he had a few excuses he has been gelded since last racing. Even though he was a very quiet colt, he just might be a bit more genuine this time round. You wouldn’t get a better-looking horse, he’s a supreme athlete and looks an absolute picture. If he was just a little more mentally strong, he could be right up with the good ones so tomorrow night will be interesting to see if he takes the next step,” he said.

Rounding out the Yesberg runners is the beautifully bred three-year-old filly, Icee Styxie (Bettor’s Delight).

Readers of the latest issue of the NZSBA Breeding Matters publication will note the success of the Bettor’s Delight cross over mares by In The Pocket and the eighth foal from Free As A Bird looks to be well above average. Like Uptown Funk, Yesberg has one of his vendors to thank for having the quality filly in his care and she too resumes on the back of a trial win at Rangiora last week.

ICEE STYXIE TRIAL “Neil Rich has been great. We prepared her for him, and his wife and she was passed in and we were given the opportunity to train her. We took our time, and she has gone from strength to strength. She was just a wee dumpy Bettor’s Delight early on, a wee round fat thing, and you wouldn’t believe you are looking at the same horse now. She wears the biggest hopple in the stable and is a really athletic, nice filly. “I’m a wee bit disappointed she has drawn one the second line and even though it could turn out to be a nice draw, it would have been good to take luck out of the equation a wee bit. Neil has a big birthday this week and has his family over who will all be at the races so it would have been nice to give him a good sight out in front.

She was twice second in her only two career starts earlier in the season and was beaten into second by the handy Purdon/Cullen filly, Chambray in her last public appearance. That particular race was run in a fast mile rate and was a great effort by Yesberg’s filly after being held up at a crucial stage. Chambray was the winner of two races in the autumn and has since resumed and run third behind Aardies Express in the first Nevele R Fillies heat earlier in the month. That bodes as good form for Icee Styxie’s resumption.

“Usually if I had any other horse, I would be a little nervous going into a maiden with this sort of depth, but she’s a pretty strong filly and she has already run the times to suggest she will handle it. It’s a pretty even bunch and could come down to who gets the better run, but it’s probably one of the best maiden fields to be run this year I’d say. “I think whatever she does she will improve on, and she will press on to the Nevele R fillies heats and will see how we go,” he said.


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