Rene Allard knew he had a contender but the trainer has finally landed himself in the winner’s circle for a Gold Cup and Saucer series event.
Mickey Hanover was a 1:50.4 winner for Allard and driver Marc Campbell, tying the Charlottetown Driving Park track record set in last year’s Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer final with Escape The News. Mickey Hanover laid down fractions of 26.2, 54.2 and 1:22.4 before drawing clear for the win.
“I knew my horse was sharp,” Allard said after the victory. “All week he was feeling really good. He seems to love the Island and he is a tough horse. I was expecting big things out of him and obviously they happened.”
Allard said Mickey Hanover does not have to race off the front end to win Saturday night’s $75,000 final, which will also include two other Allard trained horses in Island Jet and Bigtown Hero.
“This horse is versatile. He can be first up all day. He can race off the front, he can race off the back. I just want to have him as sharp as he was tonight and have your fingers crossed. I just hope he has a good week, it will be a short week, he has to race back again next Saturday but he should be all right.”
Mickey Hanover is owned by Allard Racing Inc. of Saint-Esprit, and Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, Que., with Daniel Dube of Millstone, N.J. Dube is a distinguished driver on the North American circuit, with 7,835 lifetime wins and $94 million in purse earnings while driving greats like Gallo Blue Chip and Rocknroll Heaven.
“I think Marc is going to (drive Aracache Hanover) and I think Daniel Dube, the part owner, is going to come down and drive (Mickey Hanover) and it is possible Ron Pierce will be driving (Trial 1 qualifer) Bigtown Hero, or Mark MacDonald. Unless Gilles wants to drive Bigtown Hero, he will have the option.”
The ship from Pennsylvania wasn’t the easiest for the Allard horses, as the trip, which typically takes around 18 hours, was extended after his horses were stopped at the New Brunswick-Maine border last week. The truck and trailer were registered in the U.S., while the driver was Canadian, meaning Allard had to drive down to the border after flying in to Charlottetown to drive the vehicle into Canada.
“It was a little longer ship than it was supposed to be and maybe that is why the Saturday night horses weren’t quite as good. I’m expecting the Saturday night horses to come back a little better for the final.”
Allard has been coming to Old Home Week every year since 2009 and has been in the final almost every year and it’s all about coming to P.E.I.
“Obviously we don’t come here for the money, I don’t anyway. I’d love to win the race one of these years, but I come here because the people. They can’t do enough for you and they’re good people and a great party. I came here one time and since then I have been here every year. Year after year we come here and there is a lot of disappointment. But it means a lot tonight and it is awesome my partner let me bring the horse over here and all that. We’re going to party tonight that’s for sure.”