Franco Marek lands Christmas Cup

by Joshua Smith, HRNZ News Desk

Promising pacer Franco Marek delivered his connections a late Christmas present when victorious in the Paul Renwick Joinery Motukarara Christmas Cup (2810m) on Thursday.

The win was his fifth from just seven starts for trainer and part-owner Greg Manson, and the Lincoln horseman believes the four-year-old is only going to get better.

Franco Marek was quietly away from his unruly position behind the 10m tape and settled off the pace behind Folklore for driver John Morrison.

The son of A Rocknroll Dance enjoyed an economical trip and wasn’t called upon by Morrison until turning for home, where he was able to reel in his opposition from out wide and pipped Katherine at the post to win by a head.

“He went well, he is pretty fast with a sit,” Manson said.

“That was the plan, just to take a sit. He has got a very fast last quarter in him, so it doesn’t really matter how hard they go.”

It was Franco Marek’s first victory since posting four successive wins at the start of the year, and Manson was delighted that his gelding is back on track after his ninth-placed first-up run at Timaru last month.

“Timaru was a disaster, he got caught up in an electric fence the night before, it poured with rain, and I think the tape hit him and he has been looking at it since,” Manson said.

“He isn’t going away with the speed he can at the moment. On the unruly is not ideal when the tape lands at your feet.

“He is getting more professional every day and the good thing about him today is that he went away, he didn’t bobble, but he just didn’t go away fast.”

While Manson said Franco Marek is still a work in progress, he has been delighted with his progress and believes his patience is paying off with the gelding.

“He is still just a boy, but he is a smart horse,” Manson said.

“We have been patient with him and tried to give him time to mature. He has got a wee way to go, but he knows what it is about.”

Manson is eyeing the Country Cups Final with Franco Marek and will seek advice before picking a path towards the rich feature.

“It all depends on how many points we will need for the Country Cups Final,” he said.

“I would prefer to go to Addington and start there, but I will talk to a few people and they can tell me what I need to do to get a start in that Cup.”