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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #4

Published: April 9, 2016 12:15 pm ET

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"He never had that a-ha moment where you thought 'man, this is a good horse'...he just continuously got better."

The countdown to the 2016 Pepsi North America Cup continues, with Trot Magazine profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.

At 10-1, Big Top Hanover checks in at #4 in Trot's 2016 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

The son of Western Ideal picked up paycheques in all but one of his 15 freshman starts for trainer Ron Burke, who co-owns along the colt along with JT45 LLC of Long Beach, N.Y. The $67,000 yearling purchase returned $490,880 to his investors, counting wins in the Matron Final, an International Stallion division, a PASS leg as well as his elimination of the Governor's Cup. Trot Insider touched base with Burke for an update.

Where did he winter?

"He was at Winter Miles Trotting Center in Florida."

When did you bring him back in to start training?

"Around January 15th."

Where are you at with him right now? (as of March 30)

"We've already trained him in 1:58."

Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?

"He was a nice-sized horse before and he's a nice-sized horse now."

Did you feel the horse needed to add much size from two to three?

"No, he's was a nice-looking colt and still is."

When will he qualify?

"He should qualify April 8." And he did just that this morning, qualifying in 1:54.1 at The Meadowlands.

What's his early schedule looking like leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup?

"I think the PA Sire Stakes before, I think he's got a couple of PA Sire Stakes and that will be it."

What is he staked to past the North America Cup?

"I think he does have everything. I'm not sure with him, but I might have skipped the Hempt...because if you try to do the NA Cup, the Hempt, the Meadowlands Pace and the Adios it's too much, too many races in a row."

At what point last year did this horse show you North America Cup-level talent?

"He just kind of constantly improved. Always just got a bit better than we thought he was. By the end of the year you looked back and went 'you know, that's a pretty nice colt'. He just kept getting better."

What makes this horse such a great competitor?

"He's just consistent."

Any other North America Cup-eligible colts in your stable?

"Check Six. He's the colt I thought was my best colt all along last year. Then he got hurt, and we got ready just in time for the Governor's Cup. He was good in his elimination and then he drew the 10 hole in the Final. He's the other one that I think is a good big-track horse. And Manhattan Beach is also eligible. They're all about the same, being honest. They're going to have to sort themselves out when the year starts."

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