Novelist out to write another chapter in developing story

The barrier draw for the first heat of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship will necessitate a consultation between Ellen Tormey, the driver of Franco Novelist, and trainer Luke Bryant.

RSN Harness racing
RSN Harness racing Picture: RSN

Franco Novelist, who is shooting for a hat-trick of wins, has drawn the inside of the second row and trails out Cemetery Bay, who has not led in a race for more than two years.

"I'll leave it up to Luke as to what we do at the start," Tormey said.

"It's the horse's first start in metro class and if you drag back and come wide it's difficult," she said.

Franco Novelist has won two of his three starts since resuming from a spell, however Tormey said it's hard to quantify the four-year-old's level of progress.

"He's such a big horse and he does it so easy it's hard to say how much he's improved this time in," she said.

"And he's hard to judge during a race because he feels like he's going around 29, but he's actually running 27 and 28-second quarters."

Tormey said Franco Novelist is yet to master the ring craft of being a racehorse.

"At Yarra Valley, he went to the front around the turn and was going to win by a big margin. Then he wanted to knock off in the straight and wait for them," she said.

"I think they'll have a bit of fun with him as he races in better class and he can be driven with a sit."

In the second heat of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship, talented young reinswoman Annalise Scott has been entrusted with the reins behind the Sonya Smith-trained Damysus while regular postilion Anthony Butt is in Brisbane partnering Maori Law at the Inter Dominion.

The 22-year-old Scott has saluted at her past three drives on the six-year-old son of Auckland Reactor.

"He's been good for me - he's an easy horse to get along with," Scott said.

Scott said a wide front row draw is not an issue for Damysus.

"Barriers don't really matter much with him as he's pretty tough and he likes to race up near the lead, so we'll come around them at some stage," she said.

The $20,000 Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship Final with be held at Melton next Saturday night.