Great stakes and great fields make for a top night at Addington
A premier night and minimum stakes of $20,000 see some great fields and a very good representation from the stable. For two stable runners - Say My Name and Franco Nelson - this is again a great chance to show their wares against the very best.
Say My Name was very good at two, with three wins from his nine starts and $87,000 in stake-earnings. He consistently raced against the very best and was also competitive with them. His one real "miss" occurred last start in the jewels at Cambridge, "knocked over" when he was travelling well.
To get him ready for tonight he has had the two workouts and one trial. While he has performed well in all of these, he has had a slight problem ahead of his season debut. "Its nothing major," said John, "its just that we knew he wasn't quite right."
The news has been a lot brighter over the last week and with a favourable draw, he does look the main worry for the Purdon/Rasmussen triumvirate of Change Time, Hug The Wind and Alta Orlando.
Say My Name makes his season debut in a heat of the Sires Stakes
Later in the programme the focus will turn to the "big bangers" - the cup class pacers in the Canterbury Classic at Group Two level. Put simply, Franco Nelson's first up run in the Avon City Ford was quite stunning. He uncharacteristically missed away and lost a lot of ground before settling. After this he was driven for one shot at them and was launched by John from the 450m. While the leaders ran home in 26.7 (last 400m) from the front, Franco Nelson has clearly run some freakish sectionals to get within 4.5 lengths of champion pacer Terror To Love at the line.
Robert and John are extremely pleased with the progress of the 5yr old Christian Cullen entire since that race. The hope tonight is that he steps safely and can find a suitable pozzie early. John has great faith in the horse and believes that he can be competitive with the "big two" - Terror To Love and Christen Me - that dominate all discussions. As John states, "he has proven that he deserves to be there and it is his time to step up now really." The winner of 14 from 33, including two at Group One level, he does look the one most likely to spoil the much hyped head-to-head clash.
Franco Nelson charges home for 3rd first up after missing away at the start
Posted: Fri 10 Oct 2014