YEAR: 2007


The win by Jacanti Franco in the $60,000 NRM Sires' Stakes 2YO Trotters Championship as Addington was not the only first in the race. Just as important were the facts that Steven McRae had trained his first Group winner, and that Continentalman had sired his first as well.

All three were notable in other ways: it was only the second start for Jacanti Franco but she's obviously picked up her game quickly; Continentalman has only two crops on the track; and the only other trotter McRae remembers at Spreydon Lodge was Franco Habit, onr John Hay won with when he was private trainer 10 years ago.

"It was a big thrill," said McRae, who has been in his present role at Spreydon for three years but on the payroll for 13. Because of Spreydon's focus on sales moreso than racing, he doesn't get too many opportunities at high stakes like this, but he predicted the possibility of it a year ago. "I remember having dinner with the owners, and they asked mr who was the next young horse we could expect something special from. They got a shock when I told them there was a yearling trotting filly by Continentalman who could be the one to watch for. She broke in as good as any we had last year. She was fast, and showed ability from 'Day One'. It's the only Continentalman I've had and there's no more I can see coming at present," he said.

And while the conservative McRae is looking forward to starting her in the Harness Jewels, he said he was just as keen on seeing her end this campaign because she wanted a break.

Jacanti Franco is from Jaguar Franco, a Sundon mare who was sold at a reduction sale a year ago. She is the dam of a yearling filly by C R Commando, and is owned in Christchurch by Dave Still.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HR Weekly 16May07

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