Stonebridge On Ice seeks to sweep Snowshoe

by Karen Briggs, WEG media

Toronto, ON — With two devastating victories under his belt in the first and second legs of the Snowshoe Pacing Series for 3- and 4-year-old colts, horses, and geldings, Stonebridge On Ice is poised for a sweep in Friday night’s C$45,600 final — but he’ll have to do it from post position nine.

The 4-year-old gelded son of Camluck–Glacier Express, who was unraced as a 2-year-old, has been making up for lost time, with wins in his last three starts at Woodbine. Still, his inexperience makes him a bit of a question mark, even with his trainer, Gregg McNair.

“He looks like one of the better horses in there, but I don’t know how it’s going to shape up tomorrow night,” said McNair. “He hasn’t had that many lifetime starts. We’re going week to week with him.

“Mike (Saftic) is a co-owner, and he never tells us what he’s up to, so I don’t really know what his strategy will be. It looks like they might go some big fractions, and I hope we’re not the instigator in that; I’d rather see our colt bide his time a bit.

“It’s a nice series, but it will be a little tougher this week with it down to the top ten. It’s no walk in the park.”

Still, McNair says it’s no surprise that Stonebridge On Ice is unleashing such authoritative miles.

“He was a nice 2-year-old and a nice 3-year-old — he just never got to show it because he had some soundness problems. We never did really figure out what was wrong with him. He’s a big colt, so maybe it was just growing pains.

“Finally we turned him out, from about May to September last year, and he came back sound and seems all right now.”

Stonebridge On Ice’s connections will be watching out for Michael Grant trainee Nanuets Z Tam to challenge, and McNair says he also expects Just the Begrining and Silver Dragon to make good accounts of themselves.

It all adds up to an exciting contest. Catch it at Woodbine on Friday, January 18 (race five, post time 8:50 p.m.).

Prairie rematch in Willowdale second leg

They’ve locked horns a number of times in the past, and this Saturday (Jan. 19) at Woodbine, Alberta imports Bettor Tuwin and Keystone Matt will once again go head-to-head in the C$40,000 second leg of the Willowdale Pacing Series for 4-year-old horses and geldings.

Keystone Matt, who has now started three times for trainer Ben Wallace, got the better of Bettor Tuwin (new to the barn of Casie Coleman) in the Willowdale opener last weekend, and scored a new lifetime mark of 1:51.3 in the process.

In fact, Keystone Matt (Western Hanover-Giant Matthilda) has prevailed over Bettor Tuwin in their last three meetings, but in the C$50,000 Rocky Mountain Final on December 8, 2007 at Northlands Park, it was Bettor Tuwin (second place) who was two lengths ahead of Keystone Matt (third place), in the race won by Trust The Artist.

Rated at 3-1 and 5-2, respectively, in the morning line, Bettor Tuwin and Keystone Matt will no doubt continue their duel as the series progresses. They’re both entered in the first split, race one, post time at 7:30 p.m.

In the second split, watch for 2-1 choice Mr Saratoga, who finished second in the series opener but was placed ninth for having veered inside the pylons, to redeem himself for conditioner Marty Fine. He’ll be leaving from post position four with Jody Jamieson in the bike in race three (post time 8:12 p.m.).

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