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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #7

Published: April 8, 2017 5:05 pm ET

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"In the couple of starts he's had so far, he's looked pretty good but we haven't asked him for anything yet. He's just going where he wants to go."

The countdown to the 2017 Pepsi North America Cup is on, with Trot Magazine profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.

At 18-1, Henry The Dragon is #7 in Trot Magazine's 2017 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

Henry The Dragon (Custard The Dragon - Surveille Hanover) has yet to set foot out of the state of Delaware to race, but he's been ultra-impressive thus far. In nine lifetime starts, he's won eight and finished a solid second in the other. He's a homebred of George Teague, a winner of the North America Cup with Total Truth in 2006 and most recently a runner-up with favoured Wiggle It Jiggleit in 2015.

Clyde Francis handles the training on Henry The Dragon, and he provided Trot Insider with an update.

Where did he winter?

"Right here at the farm in Harrington, Delaware. We turned all the colts out together and they get along well. They were raised together and they know each other so there wasn't any fighting at all...they play and rough-house together but no problems."

What changes did you notice in him from last year to this year?

"He filled out a lot, he's not a very big horse, not very tall but he bulked up a lot."

He's three-for-three to start his sophomore season. Discuss his progress thus far.

"He qualified right where we wanted him to go but in his first start I didn't look for him to go as strong and hard as he did, he paced his mile in 51 and change, and sprinted home real good. And in that March 30 start he made a little bobble off that last turn, Montrell got him back together right quick and he drew off. He's been pretty impressive so far."

Any idea why he made that break on March 30?

"We really don't know; he hasn't done anything like that before...whether he shied from a shadow or something like that, the shadows are bad up there."

What will his early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi NA Cup?

Henry The Dragon will be pointed for the DSBF Final this Thursday. He's also eligible for the Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway as well as the Somebeachsomewhere at Mohawk Racetrack.

What does his tentative schedule look like after the NA Cup?

"He's staked up pretty good, there were some good colts out there last year and we think he can compete with them."

You were connected with his sire, Custard The Dragon. What similarities does Henry The Dragon share with his world record setting sire?

"A lot of grit. They're about the same size, and they had a lot of fight in them...they don't give up. And speed, both of them had a lot of speed and endurance."

What's his biggest asset/strength?

"A lot of gate speed, you can position him well. And you can pull him early and he'll sit first over; that's the way they've been trained a lot...when they do get out there, it's nothing strange for them. It's like they're on the rail, they'll just keep going."

At what point last year did you think this horse was NA Cup material?

"He really came as a surprise. Training down, he wasn't a standout. When they qualified him, he came up big. He made a break in his first qualifier and paced a big last half. The first start at Harrington, he showed up and won real easy. He won again and then won the [DSBF] final real easy. Then he went to Dover, won an elim in 52, last quarter in 27 real easy...then in the Final, he was short. He ended up being a little sick after the race and we didn't race him anymore, just turned him out and shut him down to heal up and grow up.

"We figured this year when he came back if he was anything like when we stopped with him he should be alright. So hopefully that's going to work out."

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