Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Some timely advice from champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr has helped promising four-year-old Henrik Larsson to return to form a month after the New Zealand-bred pacer had enjoyed a perfect run at his second outing after a seven-month absence before fading badly to finish last, 16 lengths from the winner Pontevivo in a race at Gloucester Park.
Hall was driving Copy N Pace who fished second in that event, and after the race he approached Henrik Larsson’s part-owner and trainer Luke Edwards and said that he felt that there was a specific reason why the pacer had failed so badly.
“If it wasn’t for Junior (Hall), Henrik Larsson could still be in the wilderness,” said Edwards. “He came and saw me after that race last month and said that Henrik Larsson was making a funny noise. That’s just Junior, being like a great horseman that he is, and for the love of the horse he came and told me about this problem.
“We discovered that Henrik Larsson was choking himself in his races, without pulling. It was just the way he was holding his head, which was cutting off his wind. We now have rectified that problem by using an anti-choking device on him and an overhead check.
“We are still tinkering with a bit of gear, but Junior believes that we’re on the right track, and the horse is getting his confidence back.”
Edwards engaged Hall to drive Henrik Larsson in the Nova 93.7 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and the $3 second favourite paced faultlessly, jumping straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier and covering the lead time in a smart 36sec. before relaxing and coasting over then opening quarters of the final mile in 32.8sec. and 31sec. before dashing over the final 400m sections in 28.4sec. and 28.8sec. on his way to winning comfortably from Express Beauty and C C Chevron.
This improved the New Zealand-bred pacer’s record to 17 starts for six wins, five placings and $41,545 in stakes.
Edwards said that Henrik Larsson had caused him many headaches this year. “We have had a lot of problems along the way, this time in,” he explained.
“He had a bit of feet trouble after he was gelded, and he suffered an abscess in one of his front feet, which developed into a staph infection. He lost about a third of his foot and was laid up for a few weeks. “The big races at Christmas were always the goal but planning for the big events went by the wayside because of his problems. He is coming back from the wilderness, and hopefully we’re on the right track to get him back to his best.”