Hope has plenty of time for Latrell
Ben Hope may have lamented his football team’s loss on Friday night, but his spirits were boosted on Sunday when Latrell (Dream vacation) won on his harness racing debut at Ashburton.
Named after one of Hope’s favorite rugby league players, South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell, the three-year-old gelding made light work of his opposition in the race home to win a comfortable victory by three lengths in the Happy Birthday “Trevor Robertson” Trot (2400m).
The son of Dream Vacation was backed in a $2.30 backing following his trial victory last month, and Hope was happy to deliver for bettors.
“It was a perfect start,” said Hope, who raised, owned, trained and rode the gelding.
“He tried very well last week so it was good for him to transfer him on race day.”
Hope has plenty of time for the gelding and is in no rush to make any concrete plans with him.
“I don’t have any immediate plans with him. I’ll just see how he goes through the race and make a plan from there,” he said.
“I have a pretty high opinion of him, so I don’t want to rush him too much.”
While Hope enjoys training and driving, he also has a great passion for breeding, and is enjoying great success with his brood mare, Unyielding Spirit.
The I like you mare is the mother of Latrell, as well as two victories muscle yankee the Tedesco gelding, and Father Patrick South Sydney yearling filly.
Hope is happy with all of her offspring but considers Latrell the mare’s best horse to date.
“She had two horses of racing age and Tedesco is a good horse, but Latrell is the best mare so far. He’s a really good horse,” Hope said.
Ready to foal majestic son in the coming weeks, Hope has already lined up her next mating.
“I dropped her off at stud yesterday and she’s due to foal in a few weeks,” he said.
“I will probably go to Dream vacation. He’s obviously a bit older stud, but I’ve talked to a few people and apparently there’s some of his cum around.
“I have a high opinion of Latrell, so it would be nice to have a sibling for him.”
Meanwhile, Hope is hoping his side, South Sydney Rabbitohs, can get their season back on track this weekend.
“They lost at the weekend, but in my opinion they will have a good chance in the first week of the finals to advance to the next round. Hopefully I’m right,” he said.
For full race results, Click here.
by Joshua Smith, for Harness News Desk