Mach Banner on song for Kaikoura
Tomorrow's Kaikoura Cup is always one of the highlights on the harness racing calendar. This year the Robert Dunn stable is represented by two chances in Phantom Grin and Mach Banner.
For those who paid much attention to Mach Banner's run last Monday at Ashbuton, you would have to say he is a huge chance in this year's edition of the race. He started off the backmark of 30m against a very handy intermediate grade field last start and copped his share of problems in the running. Despite these he continued to power home, running 4th, just 2 lengths off the impressive Glencoe VC. To put Mach Banner's run in perspective, his overall time in running 4th - 2.55.3 - was just 0.4 seconds off Terror To Love's NZ record set two races earlier. On his reflection of the performance John remarked that, "the horse went enormous. He managed to get past the breakers early and then was finally able to tack on with the tailenders. Then at the 800m, he had to clear a tiring runner and lost more ground. To finish as close as he did shows he's right on the top of his game." While on paper the draw looks awkward, it will mean that the horse can work into it early on before unleashing his customary late finish.
Mach Banner looks to seal a NZ Cup spot with a top run in the Kaikoura Cup.
Phantom Grin could be the real "smokey," in the race. Dexter was stoked with the run last week and believes that is the horse's real go, having the pace on throughout. He appears an out and out stayer and his manners are sure to stand him in good stead again. If he steps and runs like he can, the South Bay course could be right up his alley.
The other runners for the day are Better Than Money in Race 4 and Kotare Mahal in Race 6.
Better Than Money meets the 6yr old and older pacers over the 1900m. He didn't have the greatest luck last start, forced to sit parked in a 2000m pace at Rangiora, won by stablemate Comenche in 2.25. It was not surprising he peaked on his effort in the straight. While drawn wide again this time, if he is able to get across to his favoured pacemaking spot early on, he may be a hard horse to run down on the tight turning circuit.
Kotare Mahal has been in super form all season. He has won 5 of his last 7 starts and it took a real good one in Didjamakem Bolt to run him down last time in a Super Series final. While he is one of 3 in the race handicapped off 10m, a good start and a small field should see him easily negate this one downside when assessing the race. There is no horse in the race more on the up than Kotare Mahal and he does look the good thing for the day for the stable.
Posted: Sun 03 Nov 2013