05/20/2011 11:48AM

Northlands Park: No Hesitation returns to best track

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No Hesitation, the 2010 Alberta horse of the year, returns to Northlands Park on Sunday, where he figures to be favored over Heavenly Chorus in a $40,000 optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and up that attracted six horses.

No Hesitation will appreciate being back in Edmonton, where all six of his wins have come. Last year at Northlands, he won every unrestricted stakes race for 3-year-olds, including the Grade 3 Canadian Derby. After his win over Kara’s Orientation in the Canadian Derby, trainer Jim Meyaard shipped him to Remington Park, where he finished fourth in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby. He was turned out for the remainder of the year, and in his first start as a 4-year-old, he finished last in an allowance race at Fonner Park. Meyaard wasn’t concerned about the poor performance, plus he won the race with Salt Flat Speed who was coupled with No Hesitation.

“He is doing great,” Meyaard said of No Hesitation. “Just like Salt Flat Speed at Fonner last year, he got bogged down on the rail and you just can’t do that there. He’s ready to go.”

Last year, Salt Flat Speed beat one horse in his seasonal debut at Fonner and then reeled off five straight wins, including scores in three stakes at Northlands.

Rico Walcott, who rode No Hesitation in all of his starts at Northlands, retains the mount.

Meyaard also has entered Professor Pollard who was part of a three-horse spill in the Canadian Derby. He came out of the incident in good shape, however, winning the restricted Beauford Stakes by more than 10 lengths in his next race. This will be his first start since he finished ninth in the Oklahoma Derby.

Heavenly Chorus looks like the only other possibility. Trained by Greg Tracy, Heavenly Chorus just missed to St. Liams Halo in a $35,000 optional claimer at Hastings on April 24. St. Liams Halo figures to be one of the favorites in the $50,000 John Londgen 6000 on Monday at Hastings. Bent Tune , Socks Are Up, and Cool Kahuna round out the field.