Cherokee’s Ironman was the toast of the racetrack after producing the fastest time during last weekend’s harness racing held under the lights at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre.
Racing on the rail in the opening heat of the Free for All, Arnold Manders’s Indiana-bred gelding led the field across the line with the fastest time of 1:02/4 with driver Darico Clarke at the helm.
The time, Ironman’s second fastest of the season, was the only sub 1:03 achieved on the ½mile track during the programme.
Manders was encouraged by his pony’s display made all the more impressive given the wet and soggy track conditions teams were confronted with.
“Ironman has been pretty good all year and that 1:02/4 was on a wet track with sand six or seven inches deep,” he said.
“He’s been consistent all year and right now he’s feeling a lot stronger.”
Manders has not enjoyed the luck of the draw to determine track positions this season with Ironman only having the advantage of racing on the rail on three occasions.
“If you don’t get a rail you don’t get a chance to go really fast and it’s just the way the draw is,” he said.
“You can’t get the fast times if you have to come from behind, but I’ve been around guys who have been around in 1:03 so he’s been consistent.”
After last weekend’s display Manders has good reason to be optimistic ahead of the season ending Champion of Champions this month.
“Champion of Champions he’s got to be one of the favourites and I definitely think I’ve got a chance like anybody else,” Manders said. “I feel pretty confident that he will be prepped and ready. It depends on the draw and who you get drawn with so it’s still open and we’ve got some good horses running right now that can knock a 1:03.”
Tyler Lopes’s mare, Google Me, achieved the second fastest time of 1:03 flat during last weekend’s programme, while J & A Peniston’s mare, Reel Patrol, and Simsfield Stables’ gelding, Simsfield Hardtimes, were tied for the third fastest of 1:03/1.