Billy Badger looking for more winter cup spoils
In career best form at present, Billy Badger has the chance to finish his season in style with victory in today's Rangiora Winter Cup, adding to the Nelson version that he won a month ago. Alpha Rock which just nutted him last week at Addington and the promising James Dean look the two hardest to roll.
After a tough summer and autumn campaign where he tackled the best three year olds in the country, Billy Badger has certainly appreciated the let-up in class over the winter months. He followed up a winning double at Nelson in June, with two very good seconds at Addington in recent weeks.
At his last start, he bobbled away, before being sent forward to lead from the 2000m. He looked the winner most of the way up the straight, but succumbed late to his race rival today in Alpha Rock. Both horses start today from the 20m handicap and do look the standout pair. If there is going to be to trouble for them from the front markers, it looks to be James Dean. He appears one of the more promising intermediate grade pacers going around at present and will no doubt look to make things difficult for the backmarkers. It looks sure to be a very good race.
There are four other stable runners that will go around today. Out Of Aces is the first of these in Race Two. This Santanna Blue Chip three year old has come solid of late and looks sure to start well supported in a field lacking any real stars. He is a great each-way hope.
Two races later and it is the turn of Spondulicks and Onedin Express. Both horses have been near enough in recent starts and are well placed from the front-line today over the 2000m. It is hard to split them, but Spondulicks gets the nod marginally from the better draw.
The final runner today and a newcomer to the Woodend Beach stable is Verdun, that will go around in Race Nine. A three win mare, she is a recent acquisition for Andrew Fitzgerald and the Off N Racing Syndicate. Andrew will do the driving today and from a handy front row draw, the mare must be a place hope if ready to go first up.
John who is closing in on career win 900, has the two outside drives today in Smooth Marra in Race Six and Take After Me in Race Nine.
Today is also the last day's driving for the season for Dexter Dunn, before he heads to Canada to defend his World Drivers' title. Dexter starts the day on 227 wins for the season, a new record, and looks to have some handy chances to add to this today. We wish him safe travels and all the best for the coming weeks.
Posted: Sun 23 Jul 2017