Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade continue road towards cup
They were the best behind Spankem in the Classic two weeks ago and tonight at Addington Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade get another chance to measure up with this year's short-priced cup favourite. The handicap pace brings together a small but select field over the 2600m.
The Canterbury Classic a fortnight ago certainly settled any question for now as to where this year's cup favourtism is likely to lie as Spankem put forward yet another statement performance. However, the two Robert Dunn trained runners also caught the eye in running second and third respectively.
Henery Hubert had issues leading into his season debut in the Classic, but certainly pleased driver Gavin Smith with the way that he found the line, nudging out his stablemate, which was gallant after leading up. He has always looked a true stayer and will no doubt be better for the run tonight.
"I'll be happy if he can step well again and take a forward position tonight," said John.
"With a small field like it is they can be quite a difficult race to call what's going to happen."
The 20m handicap is certainly going to make things harder for Classie Brigade tonight. He has stepped so well the last two though that it would not surprise to see him up disputing the pace in the early stages.
"Yea he was really good last time."
"We did get a bit of pressure from Nandolo during the running, but he was strong to the line."
With the talented four year olds Another Masterpice and Self Assured off the front tonight, it may be difficult for the backmarkers, including Spankem off 30m, to get into it. Much will depend on the early tempo of the race and possibly the track conditions, with another very wet day in Christchurch.
Down To The Bone is a very nice three year old out of the stable and takes on a big contingent of All Stars runners in the Sires Stakes heat, Race Four.
"No, the draws haven't gone our way here that's for sure," said John.
"It won't make it any easier, but we will see how we go."
With three of the Purdon/Rasmussen contingent drawn inside him, including likely favourite One Change, John will be hoping for a strong pace and luck in the running to figure.
The night kicks off for us in Race Three with Prodigal Guinness. His was another nice run on the grass at Methven, but over the 2000m tonight and from the stand, he will need to step well to figure. With good manners he is a place chance.
Woodstone was a much improved third last start behind Oscar Bonavena and takes on that runner again, behind the mobile in Race Seven.
"He seems bright and well and should go another good race."
"Obviously Oscar Bonavena is very smart, but we will be doing our best."
The final runner for this evening is Sires Stakes heat winner Above N Beyond in the last.
"He was great last time and showed that he had come on further from what he did as a two year old."
"The draw will make it that bit tougher tonight but we will be looking to get another really good run under the belt."
Toughest to beat will no doubt be the Purdon/Rasmussen runners Taxman, Roll The Dice and Aqua Sancta that are well drawn in barriers four, five and six.
Posted: Fri 18 Oct 2019