McNair Looking to Close out Gold Season Strong
Gregg McNair finds himself in a familiar position as the Ontario Sires Stakes season draws to a close, near the top of the Johnston Cup standings, and with colts in his stable primed to make a run at Super Final glory.
Two of the Guelph, Ont. resident’s colts, Stonebridge Helios and Sport Secret, are entered in the final Gold Leg of the season for three-year-old pacers this Friday, September 30 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with two $104,000 divisions set to go as races three and six on the card.
“We’ve had a pretty good go this year,” said McNair. “They’ve been a nice bunch of horses that we’ve had all year, and even though we didn’t start too many three-year-olds, the ones we have, they have been pretty nice horses.”
Stonebridge Helios is making his return to the racetrack after a one-month layoff. The Sunshine Beach colt was a standout two-year-old and has backed it up at three.
He transferred to the McNair barn in June, following an ownership change to dissolve a partnership, and has compiled a 2022 record of 6-0-1 in nine starts for current owners John Fleischman from Ottawa, Ont., and Angie Stiller of London, Ont.
“He was a high-speed horse last year, and even this year before we got him,” said McNair. “It’s just a matter of making him behave himself. He’s definitely one of the tougher ones when he behaves himself because he is such a fast horse.”
‘Helios’ has a perfect record in three OSS Gold starts this season, and a win would push him over last season’s total of three victories at the top-level of the provincial program.
McNair’s son Doug will be in the race bike on Friday leaving from post two in the second Gold division of the evening.
Sport Secret drew the rail position in race three, with Doug also in the bike. A talented son of Sportswriter, he has found the winner’s circle six times in 2022 and won a Gold division at Georgian Downs on August 7.
His other five wins have all come at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but he’s yet to find the winner’s circle at the big oval against stakes company.
“He’s had some awful tough trips when going for the money,” said McNair. “But he has a better hole on Friday, so hopefully that helps him, but that doesn’t always mean you get a nice trip out of it. Things happen out in the race that nobody can do anything about.”
Sport Secret had made 21 starts for McNair and his co-owner Jeffrey Skinner of Hammonds Plains, N.S., but his trainer is sure he’s fresh heading into the stretch drive of his sophomore campaign.
“We’ve tried not to be too tough on him,” said McNair. “He got some wicked tough trips over the summer, but he hasn’t been overly raced. We do lots of trips with him, but he’s not a horse that needs a lot of fast miles in between races.”
Heading into the final Gold Leg, Stonebridge Helios and Sport Secret are numbers 1 and 5 on the glamour boys Gold leaderboard.
Other top contenders as McNair sees it Ron (Sportswriter), Kolby Two Step (Betterthancheddar), and St Lads Sterling (Control the Moment) have all drawn into the final Gold Leg and will be jockeying for position ahead of the October 15 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
“They’re a pretty nice bunch and when the top-10 get in there together,” said McNair. “It’s a pretty nice bunch of colts, and no slouch of a group.”
Image: Stonebridge Helios wins a Gold division on August 26 at Woodbine Mohawk Park (New Image Media)
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