PROMINENT harness racing owners Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt have enjoyed a lot of success since they joined forces about a year ago and one of the horses they bought in New Zealand last year is another of the team likely to make an impact in Tasmania.
Franco Sheffield (Live Or Die-Show Franco) made an impressive debut at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart on Sunday night in the Tattsbet 2YO Pace over 1609 metres.
The gelding started from near the outside of the front row (6) and was eased out of the early action but when driver Ricky Duggan put him into the race 600 metres from home three-wide with cover he accelerated quickly and in the home straight and toyed with his rivals in the run to the line.
Franco Sheffield went on to score by almost six metres from the well backed Ektoras (James Rattray) with race leader Stonor Rainbow (Ken Austin) a close-up third.
Franco Sheffield is prepared at Magra by Juanita McKenzie who has a high opinion of the youngster.
“I believe this horse has loads of potential and provided we look after him he will be a very good three-year-old and beyond,” McKenzie said.
“He is starting to become quite revvy in his work and tonight he also get a bit revved up during the race so that’s a sign that we need to back off and give him a spell,” she said.
Duggan reiterated McKenzie’s feelings.
“It’s all still new to the horse and that’s understandable but he gave me a great feel and will be a very good horse down the track if they look after him,” Duggan said.
Connections are likely to give the gelding one more start and then tip him out to mature.
Cooper and Cockshutt are not newcomers to the game and are certain to heed the advice of their trainer and driver.
Franco Sheffield clocked a mile rate of 2m.01.1s and ran home his last half (800m) in a handy 59.6 seconds.
Cooper and Cockshutt travelled to New Zealand last year with prominent Victorian trainer Dean Braun who introduced them to many of his Kiwi contacts and that was resultant in them buying two pacers with the other being the well-performed three-year-old Dapper Dana.
Dapper Dana also won on debut and has since gone on to win three and notch as many minor placings from his seven starts.
Franco Sheffield was trained up to trial stage in Victoria by Braun and once he had secured his racing ticket, courtesy of winning a trial at Geelong, he was dispatched to McKenzie.