Further opportunity for the cup horses to shine
With the 2020 New Zealand Trotting Cup now under four weeks away, cup aspirants are running short on opportunities to find their best form. For our two cup class horses Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade, tonight's 2600m handicap for the faster class horses gives them that further opportunity to show their best wares.
Both runners raced in the Canterbury Classic a fortnight ago, a race that was dominated by the All Stars pair of Self Assured and Spankem. On that occasion Henry Hubert faded to 6th, having led after a mid-race move, while Classie Brigade ran another good race for 4th after being held up by the tiring stablemate for a time in the straight.
On their runs so far this spring, it is certainly Classie Brigade that is again staking a major claim for this year's big race. An unlucky third in last year's cup, he then followed that up three day's later with a superb second in the free-for-all after leading. Throughout this campaign he has been as consistent as ever with the two Group Three wins - New Brighton Cup and Hannon Memorial the two notable efforts. He has proven himself over the 3200m trip in the past and logically looks the main threat to the big three of Self Assured, Spankem and Copy That.
While John has been happy with the work at home of Henry Hubert (in picture), on race day his efforts have not been as good as they can be. In the Classic last time out, he was slow away and had to make a mid-race move, but should probably have found more than what he did. However, with no All Stars runners here and just a small field, he has a great opportunity to get a confidence booster under the belt. If he is able to step away well from his 10m handicap he has the opportunity to make the 25m backmarkers do some work.
With some handy talent drawn on the frontline, including Stylish Memphis and Di Caprio, the early pace is sure to be on as they look to make life difficult for the frontmarkers. Small field as it is, it could turn out to be an intriguing affair.
We have another eight runners that will step out in the Diamond Racing colours, starting with Surfer's Delight in Race One. Well drawn, he has done a really nice job in his two starts to date. Last time out at Timaru, he gave a great sight in front, setting up a 1.56 mile rate, only going down late to a trailling runner. From the draw tonight, John will have plenty of options and he looks a great chance to justify a short fixed odds quote.
Westeros has produced some nice runs since joining the Woodend stable and was huge last time after an early mistake. He meets an even bunch in Race Two and will still need to be on his best behaviour, but if is his, could be one of the better eachway bets at odds on the night.
Tyron's Bit Of Lemon will look to take adavantage of a nice barrier in Race Three. Last time out he was a short-priced favourite, but had to do work to find the lead. Pressured done the backstraight by eventual winner Watch Me Now, he did well to stick on for third. With the right run here he looks sure to take plenty of beating.
Woodstone is the stable runner in Race Four, a trotters free-for-all. At his last start he went off stride after appearing to be travelling well. In his previous starts, it appeared that he was building towards something like his best form. This is a nice field with top trotters Winterfell, Majestic Man and Heavyweight Hero all engaged, while the new kid on the block in Muscle Mountain has been impressive also. From the draw, Woodstone may get a soft run, giving him his chance to barrel home. He is a nice place hope at odds.
Somekindawonderful, Mighty Looee and Carlos Bromac are our runners in Race Five. The draw has not been kind to us here, particularly to Somekindawonderful which is fresh up and will have to start from the widest gate. He will no doubt be driven for luck by John, but showed his talent with a strong win before a spell. Mighty Looee has been in great form. Drawn the second line, he may still get a nice run through. He showed last time out, how effective he can be with one run at them and a step up in class will hold few fears. Carlos Bromac was fresh up and in need of the run last week. He was put to sleep on that occasion, but finished powefully with an interrupted run in the straight. It is hard to pick one over the other here, but with the likelihood of a better spot early on, Mighty Looee may be the hardest to beat.
Our final runner is Dashing Major in Race Six, another heat of the Sires Stakes. A debutante in another heat last week, he was hugely impressive, getting home with some stunning sectionals. He certainly appeared a talented individual and with that run under his belt should be very hard to beat tonight. The draw is the only reservation, but the small field - just seven runners - may negate some of that. He looks a very big chance in the race.
Posted: Fri 16 Oct 2020