News

Alex Park preview

by Michael Guerin

There are plenty of reasons Jack’s Legend shouldn’t win tonight’s Spring Cup but one important reason he can --- speed.

Last season’s Harness Jewels three-year-old winner returns in tonight’s 2200m standing start at Alexandra Park taking on race-hardened rivals with just one trial under his belt.

Considering he has never raced in a standing start race and has actually only won four times, Jack’s Legend hardly looks well rated considering he gets only a mere 10m start from 14-race winner No Doctor Needed and Hug The Wind, who has 12 victories to his name.

Further back on the 20m mark are New Zealand’s most improved mare Better B Amazed and former Victoria Derby winner Maxim, back from a winning Australian campaign.

So while the field is small it contains enough depth that any deficiencies in Jack’s Legend’s manners or fitness could be exposed.

So why would you back him? Two very good reasons.

Training legend Barry Purdon is convinced Jack’s Legend is a genuine New Zealand Cup contender and secondly in recent season’s our better three-year-olds have stepped up to the best older horses at four.

Lazarus was the most graphic example last season but had plenty of back-up from Dream About Me while Have Faith In Me went from top three-year-old to Miracle Mile winner two seasons ago.

Jack’s Legend wasn’t our best three-year-old last season but beat many of them in the Jewels and these days to be a serious three-year-old in New Zealand you need to be blessed with exceptional talent, more than many of the older horses who simply work their way to open class.

Driver Zac Butcher was pleased with Jack’s Legend’s effort to beat Maxim at the workouts at Pukekohe last week and thinks the young gun can step well enough to determine his own chances.

“I think he will be safe and then if we roll along it makes it harder for those behind us over 2200m,” says Butcher.

“But I am sure he is up to them because he is that fast and he races well fresh.” The start is always crucial in 2200m stands but especially so tonight, as how many rivals Jack’s Legend can put between himself and Better B Amazed could decide the race.

Better B Amazed has improved three to five lengths on last season and trainer Steve Telfer is using tonight to decide whether he takes her to the A$200,000 Victoria Cup in two weeks.

“She is holding her form well since that last win but it is one of those races where we could know our fate after 200m,” says Telfer.

“If they spread out and we are last, it becomes very hard but if we can get handy enough at some stage she can win. But she doesn’t have to win to go to Victoria.” Telfer also has No Doctor Needed, who will driven by junior Jack MacKinnon, and Valor Lustre in the same race, with Jack’s Legend’s trainer, Purdon has Hug The Wind, another possible NZ Cup contender, so field position and the tactics that allows to unfold will be pivotal.

One of the most interesting horses at The Park tonight is Group One-winning trotter Eyre I Come, who has been sent north searching for a Wallis-Hackett beach training miracle as he continues to battle soreness.

At his best he would win the 1700m mobile feature trot but may have lost an inch of his speed edge whereas Yagunnakissmeornot has found hers.