Trainers eye Graham Harriott Trotters Discretionary Handicap

Natty Pagger following a victory earlier in his career.

After a run of five consecutive placings without claiming a victory, horseman Trent Moffat is optimistic he has found the right race for the consistent Natty Pagger on Sunday at Marburg.

Natty Pagger will be one of three starters for the Moffat camp in the Marburg club’s feature Graham Harriott Trotters Discretionary Handicap.

The special race is named in honour of the late Marburg Pacing Association president and top trainer Graham Harriott.

Back in 2012, Graham, who had a strong team of horses in work to that day, died suddenly and the club have held the race since to recognise his memory.

The 30-year-old Moffat will have six starters across the nine event program from Marburg on Sunday and says he enjoys heading to the club as he does not live far from the track.

Ann-Maree Harriott.

“I want to support the meetings as best I can,” Moffat said.

“This week fitted in really well with the three trotters and pacers, it has all worked out good.

“This has always been a really good race day having this memorial race on as he was a great bloke from all reports.

“While the race is not big money, it is a nice one for the trotters once a year. I am happy to support it.”

Fellow emerging trainer Matt Crone will have two starters across the program, headlined by Indefensible in the Graham Harriott Trotters Discretionary Handicap.

Following Graham’s death, his widow Ann-Maree has remained heavily involved with the Marburg club.

Graham trained for over 30 years and had a few different stints as president at Marburg.

“They are a good family,” Crone said of the Harriotts.

Moffat’s gelding Natty Pagger has been racing steadily since the start of October but has been unable to break through for a victory.

He has not finished worse than third in his last five efforts.

Moffat described Natty Pagger as a versatile square gaiter as he is able to sit up on the speed or come from behind in the closing stages.

Reinsman Mathew Neilson will have a few options with Natty Pagger when he commences from five on Sunday afternoon.

“I have been really happy with him, he has been really honest the last month or two,” Moffat said.

“We have been setting him for this race for a little while now.

“The whole time I have had him he has been honest without winning as he has only won the two races.

“He has earned nearly $40,000 for us since we got him and that’s mainly just running placings.

“He is in the right grade at the moment and he is always competitive regardless of how you drive him.”

Graham Harriott training and driving Scrawny to victory at Ipswich in his younger days.

Aladdin Sane was previously prepared by Grant Dixon before recently being acquired by Moffat.

Of his three chances on Sunday, Moffat believes Aladdin Sane is his best winning hope on ability.

But, the bay gelding will need to contend with a 50 metre handicap.

Crone’s Indefensible is also set to commence from the same handicap as Aladdin Sane.

“We set all three of them for this race,” Moffat said.

“Natty Pagger has been around Marburg before and the track suits him well.

“I have no concerns around him getting around the track but with the one two, Aladdin Sane will be having his first start there as I have not had him for long.

“Aladdin Sane is probably the best horse I have in this race on ability but seeing as he is off 50 metres and it being a tight track like Marburg, it might make it tough for him.”

Alongside driver Angus Garrard, Moffat lifted the popular Trot Rods crown for 2023 earlier this year at Redcliffe after Vanity Bay left it to the fourth last heat of the 20 on offer to set the hottest time.

Natty Pagger following a victory earlier in his career.

By Jordan Gerrans