News

Lawrence shapes up for Super Nugget Final

NZ HARNESS NEWS

If there was ever time to use the well-worn racing phrase that anything could win this, it’s before Saturday's Super Nugget Final at Ascot Park.

A red hot field of progressive pacers has been assembled for the $20,000 feature on the Northern Southland Cup day undercard.

So deep is the form around the event that it not only serves as a mouth-watering attraction for punters, but it endorses the graduation-style nugget series in its first season of being run by the Southern Harness organisation.

Invercargill trainer Alister Black has qualified leading southern three-year-old Lawrence for the race and has fellow sophomore pacer Kilowatt Kidd in the race as a handy back-up.

Lawrence comes into the event on the back of an unlucky third behind rival Zealand Star at Winton last month after being held up on the final bend.

Since then he has pleased Black with a quiet workout to prime him for Saturday's feature.

"The Winton race didn't pan out to what we had planned; he had to run a 58 half in the middle, but he didn't disgrace himself by any stretch,'' Black said.

''He seems to have trained on good since his last workout and he had a nice quiet run at the workouts.''

That workout, where race rival Franco Santino ran past Lawrence could be an important form reference for Saturday's event, but Black is quick to point out there are no prizes for winning there.

''He has got home in 26.6 and Franco Santino ran away from him, but there is no money at the workouts.''

Lawrence stamped his class and put himself in contention for today's race with a huge performance to win at Wyndham two starts ago.

He won by coming from behind, which has Black in two minds whether the horse is better with a sit or up on the speed.

''I always thought he was a bit more of a stayer than a sprinter.''

''But he has got home in a very fast last half and run 2.56 at Wyndham.''

''Every other time he has he has sat outside them.''

''He sat outside Gore Bay and served it up to them and they went a track record that day.''

''So, he can do it both ways.''

It would be no surprise to see driver Brad Williamson adopt sit sprint tactics from Lawrence's two on the second row draw on Saturday.

What his main rivals do from their tricky draws will have a big impact on the speed in the event.

Franco Santino and Shebang must overcome drawing on the outside of the front line and The Bus has only one horse outside him on the second row.

Zealand Star finished hard on the back of Franco Santino in the Winton workout he and Lawrence contested and is a major winner after the barrier draw having secured barrier one.

Though Alister Black does rate Lawrence ahead of Kilowatt Kid, there may not be much between them on Saturday judging by Kilowatt Kid's recent trackwork.

"I thought his work was the best it has ever been [on Thursday morning]; he worked good.''

Black is hoping leading driver Blair Orange can work his renowned magic on the horse and time his run to perfection.

''He is not a natural leader, he has got to sit and come with one run.”