Adore Me dominates Auckland Cup market

By Michael Guerin

The scratching of a second big name rival has seen Adore Me move into near record favouritism for tomorrow night’s Auckland Trotting Cup.

The champion mare is $1.60 for the great race after Sky Major was forced out of the race yesterday.

He joined Terror To Love as a non-starter after suffering a slight bout of pneumonia following his brave win in the A$200,000 Chariots of Fire at Menangle on Sunday.

“He actually got pretty sick on Tuesday but he is responding to treatment now and will be fine,” said trainer Barry Purdon.

“I think he just got an infection from racing in the extreme heat and then a storm blew up straight afterwards.

 “It is bad timing but the Chariots was his main aim and the Auckland Cup was always a bonus.

“The most important thing is the horse is fine and he still has some big aims later in the season.”

Sky Major will head toward the Taylor Mile and Messenger before trying to become the first three time Jewels winners at Ashburton in late May.

His withdrawal saw Adore Me move from $1.90 to $1.60 with the TAB, with the scratching of Terror To Love with a heel injury, as well as punter support, having already seen her shorten from her post-race $2.25.

Her case has been aided by the scratchings on two fronts --- less rivals and the fact she will follow out fast beginners in Lancewood Lizzie and Ohoka Punter.

Lancewood Lizzie will now be driven by Zac Butcher, who was to have partnered Sky Major.

Christen Me remains the second favourite but into $3.80 while Ohoka Punter is now the clear third choice at $7.50.

There has also been a wave of money for Adore Me’s stablemate Follow The Stars in tomorrow night’s Woodlands Northern Derby, and he is into $1.90 after some huge bets and the withdrawal of stablemate Hug The Wind.

Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s stable will have the hot favourite in all four pacing group races tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, New Zealand trotting star Stent has a wide draw in the second heat of the A$400,000 Great Southern Star at Melton on Saturday night.

Stent races in his 1720m heat at 9.30pm NZ time before the final at midnight, with the heat winners allowed to pick their draws for the 1720m final first.

Stent finished second in the GSS last season to Keystone Del, who is in the first heat on Saturday night and looks the major danger again this week.

But the Kiwi is the $2 favourite in Australia to win the final even before the heats.