VETERAN trainer Kevin Hanley has his sights set on the Adrian Ledger Memorial at next month’s Albury carnival after Arctic Grey notched his third consecutive win at Albury yesterday.
Aided by a terrific ride from Canberra apprentice Koby Jennings, Arctic Grey ($4.80) finished full of running to defeat Canberra raider Scene Of The Crime ($2.70fav) and Koel ($6).
Arctic Grey has hit a purple patch after also winning at Albury and Benalla at his previous two starts.
Hanley is now confident the five-year-old gelding can handle a rise in grade for the Albury carnival.
“The horse is jumping out of his skin,” he said.
“I’m a bit dirty on myself because I was going to nominate for him to race at Benalla again on Monday but I forgot.
“The horse has been up for a while this preparation but the way he is racing he is going to stay up for a while longer.
“Obviously the Albury Gold Cup will be too strong for him.
“But it has been a goal of mine to win the Adrian Ledger Memorial.
“Adrian rode a few winners for me and was a terrific kid.
“I have always wanted to win one. Who knows, this might be the year.”
Hanley revealed he almost scratched Arctic Grey after a dispute with Southern District racing stewards after seeking permission for Jennings to ride the galloper half a kilogram over his allotted 54 kilograms.
“The stewards initially ruled Koby wasn’t allowed to ride overweight but thankfully one of the owners sorted out the problem,” he said.
“It was the best ride I have ever seen from an apprentice jockey.
“Thankfully it was worth going through what we did to get him on the horse and he is one of the best apprentices going around.”
Hanley said he would look for another suitable race in about three weeks before going to the Albury carnival on March 27 and 28.