Sundees Son just wow in ANZAC Cup win
The meteoric rise to the top of the trotting ranks went to next level for Sundees Son at Alexandra Park this evening, as he put paid to the best in the business in the Group One ANZAC Cup. For owners Colin and Nancy Hair to finally see their champ put it all together when it counted must have been satisfaction on the highest level. For trainer Robert and driver John, this was as good as it gets as this horse with so much untapped potential finally appears ready to step out of the shadow of mere pretender.
Sundees Son has always had the ability to mix it with any in his age group, but manners have often been his undoing when it has really counted.
It was an early season double that gave the signs of promise of what may be in store. However, then it was back to the ordinary as late breaks cost him almost certain victories on the two days of the New Zealand Cup carnival. Not the sort of people to dwell on this misfortune, instead Robert and John regrouped giving the Sundon four year old a decent spell of three months before he was again seen back on the racetrack.
First up in mid-February, Sundees Son looked to be jogging when going off stride at the 200m. The decision was then made to go back to handicap racing for awhile and get the confidence up again. Strong wins off long handicaps were the result and again Sundees Son was looking the real deal, but a late break next up at Group Three level resulted in more head scratching. But the enigma that he is, next up Sundees Son came out and slayed top open class trotter Speeding Spur by seven lengths, clearly lodging a challenge to the open class heirarchy.
At his final dress rehearsal for tonight's Group One, Sundees Son again took on Speeding Spur in the Group One New Zealand Trotting Chamionship. Having made his move inside the last 800m on that occasion he then went toe to toe with pacemaker Speeding Spur over the last 400m. After looking likely to issue a significant challenge in the last 50m that night, he again broke late in the race, being beaten a neck in the process.
Fast forward thee weeks and Sundees Son did look to have it all in front of him. The best of New Zealand's open class totters turned up for the Group One and to top that, Sundees Son had to come from the outside of the second row over the shorter 2200m trip.
Able to navigate safely through the early stages of the race, Sundees Son was a dozen lengths off leader and second favourite Marcoola with a lap to go. Knowing the huge motor that the horse possesses, John waited until the 800m until hitting the go button and the response was instant as he surged around the field from last, to be up disputing the pace at the 500m. Even allowing for the work that he had done getting around the big field, Sundees Son had bettered Marcoola turning for home and at the 200m had a three length buffer over his closest chaser Lemond. Kept up to his work, he retained a one and three quarter buffer through to the finish in a display of speed and toughness.
The win which doubled as the first Group One for the stable for some time was incredibly satisfying and was somewhat reminiscent of Marcoola's display in winning the Dominion Handicap back in November.
Sundees Son looks sure to shorten markedly in markets for next week's Rowe Cup. If the real Sundees Son turns up, in his current form, there is no reason why he cannot achieve a back to back Group One double.
Of the beaten brigade in the race, it was another four year old Majestic Man that caught the eye late charging home out wide. He may well be one of the toughest to beat over the two miles next week.
But for now, enjoy the moment. Well done to the owners, trainer, driver and support staff who have all believed in this horse and have seen him through to a Group One victor.
(Thanks to Emily from the Digital Birdcage for her great photo.)
Posted: Fri 26 Apr 2019