Although he doesn’t figure in the Mark and Nathan partnership (he would have but for a late change of plan outside stable control) Michael is a valued member of the All Stars team as well as training on his own account.

He figures in both ways this Friday.

He produces his dashing young trotter Mystic Max his first Group 1 winner as a trainer  and his only stable member ,on the first step of a new campaign and is co-owner of another G1 winner, NZ Oaks queen No Matter Wat, who is also first up for the season. Both are recent triallists and Michael was happy with his charge.

“I felt he went real good in his trial.He’s been gelded since last racing and has grown a lot. This week is probably a kick off for him but I think he will run well and only improve.”

“He got too colty late last season as a late three year old and had often run his race before he actually started in it. It didn’t help him at the start either. He is much more settled since the gelding. I am hoping he will measure up to free for all company later in the year. He’s a lovely horse to do anything with and from a family that improves with age”

Mystic Max,a grandson of Love You  is one of the highest rated in his field on Friday and renews rivalry with Nazareth,a son of Love You  who defeated him in the last stride of the NZ Trotting Derby in December after Mystic Max had worked hard outside the leader for the last 800m. Mystic Max is rated to get a reasonable draw in the Preferential race

No Matter Wat,driven by Olivia Thornley in every race to date,comes in reasonably well at the ratings too, the second highest stake earner in the field after Life’s a Beach who upset Belle of Montana,Bettor Twist and Stylish Memphis among others in the Northern Breeders back in 2021.

“I think No Matter Wat has improved too over the summer” Michael said. “She hasn’t had the smoothest of actions at times but she is always willing and that is a big thing in her favour.She will improve too but I expect a good race from her also.”


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