By Glenn Davis
The Grove, a close relative of Northern Crown Series winner, The Harrovian, will be out to continue trainer Stephen Massingham’s run of good fortune at Cannon Park in Cairns on Friday.
The Grove, named after a bed and breakfast in Harrow in Victoria, broke through for his maiden win in Cairns on September 13 and will be striving for back-to-back wins in the Class Three Plate (1500m).
The Grove is a son of champion sire Redoute’s Choice out of Harrow making him a half-brother to The Harrovian.
The Harrovian, by Fastnet Rock, created history by becoming the first horse to claim the $200,000 Northern Crown bonus after claiming the Townsville, Cairns Cup and Cairns Amateur Cup.
Massingham rates The Grove highly but believes he has a way to go yet to be compared to The Harrovian.
“The Grove shows a lot of promise but he can’t be compared to The Harrovian just yet,” Massingham said.
“But I’ve got high hopes for him next year.
“He should have won his last three starts but he was very unlucky when he was beaten at Cairns and Townsville before he won his maiden here in Cairns.
“He got out too late in Townsville and he went too early and was just run down at Cairns.
“This is a bit of a step up in grade and distance for him but I think he can win again.”
Massingham has been training for 10 years and has a team of 13 horses in work in Cairns.
He works long hours as he also has a full-time position as a supervisor with a Cairns asphalt company.
Massingham has five runners entered for the meeting and is confident Chapel Road can give a good account of himself in the Open Handicap (950m).
Seven-year-old Chapel Road landed his sixth win in 33 starts when he stormed home to win a 950-metre Class Six in Cairns on September 14.
“He’s a good horse and he seems to go better in Cairns than he does in Townsville,” Massingham said.
“He’s only had three runs in Cairns for two wins and a close second so hopefully he can win again.”
Racing Queensland webnews September 25