By Duane Ranger
The powerful Menangle Stable of KerryAnn and Robert Morris hits Albion Park on Saturday evening for the first night of the 2019 Summer Carnival.
And with them comes a strong team of eight standardbreds – one of which hasn’t been beaten in all four of her trotting starts this season.
The royally-bred Princess Kenny has opened up the $2.80 favourite in the first heat (race 7) of the 2019 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship.
The grand final, which is a Group One event on December 21, is worth $50,000.
“She’s my best winning drive on Saturday night. She’s very well bred and can do it at both ends if she has too. She is a very tough, versatile, filly from a good New Zealand family,” Morris (Robert) said.
Princess Kenny is the fifth foal out of the two-win 2002 Sundon chestnut – Frances Jay Bee (by Pointer Hanover) mare, Nice One Kenny.
Her older full-sister and foal four - One Over Kenny, won 32 of her 66 starts, and placed in 10 others and just over $1 million in stakes. That multiple Group One-winning mare was one of New Zealand’s best trotters from 2004 to 2010, and is now one of their better established broodmares.
“A client of mine was looking for a trotter and we bought her. I knew she was from the breed that Phil Williamson trains. She’s got it all really.
“She’s won all of her Menangle races well this time back in, especially last week. Albion Park shouldn’t trip her up,” said Morris.
The Morris stable cleaned up at the 2019 Winter Carnival and wants to repeat that dose in December, starting with Take In Gold (6) in the last race at ‘The Creek’ on Friday - and then their remaining seven horses are lining up in the first seven races at Albion Park 24 hours later.
“I’m are staying at Grant and Trista’s here at Tamborine until the day after the last night of the Summer Carnival (December 21). We like to get here for both Carnivals because our horses go well in Queensland.
“KerryAnn is back home tending to our racing team at Menangle.”
He said it was also a welcome relief to be able to race in Queensland, without hoards of smoke hovering around and over racetracks.
“I heard the fires were pretty bad one day this week, but have settled a bit since. My heart goes out to all the people who are suffering. All we can do is work on and pray they get rain.”
The Morris stable has some nice prospects lining up on Saturday. He also has two outside drives and believed one of his Dixon runners was a good chance.
“I’m not too sure about a couple of them but Im The Commando and Goddess Jujon in races eight are nine, and they have both been going pretty well for Grant.
“When ‘Commando’ does things right he goes pretty well, so he’s probably the best of my outside drives,” Morris said.
However, Morris, was more clear-cut about his seven charges in the first seven races. Here’s what he had to say about them (with trainer, draw, form, and opening odds):
Race 1: The KerryAnn Morris trained SQUIRE (6) 99171 - $4.50 second favourite. “Somebeachsomewhere 5yo gelding, who is a real good horse, even though he has been a bit patchy of late. He has raced in Queensland before, racing well here winning two out of three earlier in the year. He can get some of it despite the average draw.”
Race 2: The KerryAnn Morris trained GOTTA BE DOWNTOWN (9) 11437 - $7 equal second favourite. “Five-year-old mare having her first look at the track, but that shouldn’t bother her. She’s a nice mare, who raced well at Menangle. I think she will acquit herself well, but will need luck from the draw.”
Race 3: The KerryAnn Morris trained BALLACHULISH (8) 32352 - $6 third favourite. “He’s drawn one on the second line, which might hinder him a bit, but he’s also a very nice horse who will be searching for luck. He’s tough though, because last start he sat outside the leader and finished second in 52. I think he could go one better here. He has travelled well. I’m just hoping he gets a horse to follow through.”
Race 4: The KerryAnn Morris trained DANCE FOR GLORY (5) 72346 - $21 – “You are having me on. There’s no way this horse should be paying $21. That can’t be right, because he is a really nice pacer. That price has absolutely dumbfounded me. Two starts ago he got back and came home real late for a nice second, and then his next start was okay as well. His price should be in single figures, because from gate five he’s the type who can work forward, and that’s what I’ll probably do with him until he can get on or near the pace. I know there’s some nice horses in this, and he’s one of them.”
Race 5: The KerryAnn Morris trained PETES SAID SO (5) 25323 - $6 third favourite. He’s done a real good job at country tracks back home and his last two starts at Menangle and Penrith were really good. He’s a gutsy, consistent little racehorse.”
Race 6: The KerryAnn Morris trained BAD BILLY (9) 01992 - $6 second favourite. He’s a lovely free-for-all-pacer. We haven’t had him long but he’s a former Cup winner (twice) in good times. The draw is not ideal, but there’s some top horses in this and so long as the speed is on, we are a good chance. A solid clip would really suit us.”
Race 7: The KerryAnn Morris trained PRINCESS KENNY (2) -1111 - $2.80 favourite: “Three-year-old well bred Monarchy filly from Phil Williamson’s (Oamaru) family in New Zealand. Her form and record (11-7-2) says it all. She’s won her last four races this campaign fairly easily, and she’s not afraid to do the hard work to win races. She’s drawn to lead and win. It’s hard to talk against her. I’d love to win the D J Alexander Trotting Series again. It’s a prestigious Group One race. She is a very nice chance in this heat. My best drive of the night.”