No Doctor Needed massive in Flying Stakes

While he has been beaten by just over six lengths and has finished in 7th place, No Doctor Needed has probably produced a career best effort in yesterday's Ashburton Flying Stakes, a race won by New Zealand Cup favourite Smolda.

To put it simply he made an absolute hash of the start and settled down a mile off the leaders that included Tiger Tara, Ohoka Punter and Smolda. After 600m of the 2400m contest he was about six seconds off leader Tiger Tara.

While there was some let-up in the frenetic pace up front from the 1600m mark to the 1200m mark, it was only really at the 1200m that No Doctor Needed was able to join the tailend of the field. 400m later and the pace was again being applied up front.

Not surpisingly, as the field turned for home No Doctor Needed was still last and in tight quarters. However, the biggest surprise after the run he had had was that the last 200m was probably his best, powering past four runners and finishing just six lengths off winner Smolda.

Because of how far he was off the leaders early, it was hard to actually get his sectionals on the day, but he appears to have run a 1.52 last mile, home in his last 800m in 53. The question now is will he get a start in this year's cup? Tomorrow's updated rankings will make interesting reading and surely after yesterday's run he must be close to making the top 15.

The Flying Stakes as a race was everything that it always is, speed, action and the best lead-up to the cup. Smolda was superb in taking the win and clearly deserves to be the cup favourite for this year. Ohoka Punter lost no admirers with his tough run for second, while Mossdale Conner and Tiger Tara were both big efforts after going toe-toe over the first 800m. The other notable run was northerner Sky Major who was doing his best work late, finishing three lengths off the winner.

While there is still uncertainty over Christen Me being ready for cup day, what is sure is that this year's cup field will be the most even contest for many years. On their day there are any number of runners that are capable of taking the coveted prize in a cup that is just 14 days away.

Posted: Tue 27 Oct 2015