11 January 2018 | APG Media
LADBROKES Australian Pacing Gold graduate Messini will have a new driver as he aims for another Group One victory on Saturday night.
No stranger to top-shelf success, having won two Vicbred Super Series Finals, Messini is poised to contest the South Australia Cup for Victorian trainer Brent Lilley.
With regular reinsmen Anthony Butt and Chris Alford committing to drives at Shepparton, Lilley has called up on leading local, Ryan Hryhorec, to partner the son of Art Major.
“Being asked to drive such a nice horse in the Cup was a pleasant surprise that’s for sure,” Hryhorec said. “It’s the first time I’ve been down to drive a horse in a $100,000 race which is a descent chance of winning.
“Like I said, to get the call up from Brent (Lilley, trainer) was a great surprise and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”
A Group Two winner last weekend when partnered by Alford, Messini will begin barrier 11, which should see the stallion finishing strongly during the latter stages according to Hryhorec.
Messini began from the same barrier in last season’s Cup when an eye-catching fourth behind fellow Ladbrokes Australian Pacing Gold purchase, Smolda, in track record time.
“I’m hoping there will be a fair bit of action on during the run and then we can get the right trip into it,” Hryhorec said.
“He is in good form and there is no doubt he’s a serious chance...it’ll just come down to what kind of luck he gets.”
Messini is one of three APG ‘family members’ in the Cup, with Sams The Master drawn barrier three and Tee Ce Bee Macray to come from six.
Sams The Master, which has won three of his last four starts, and Tee Ce Bee Macray are Jess Tubbs-trained stablemates.