A change of tactics for Majestic Man
by Michael Guerin
Trainer Phil Williamson thinks tomorrow may be the time to roll the dice with Majestic Man.
And that could mean more aggressive tactics with the speedster in the $100,000 National Trot at Alexandra Park’s twilight Auckland Cup meeting.
Majestic Man is coming to end of a huge month, having been a luckless second in the Inter Dominion Trot Final when he refused to take the passing lane and then a booming runner-up to Oscar Bonavena in the Flying Mile at Cambridge last Tuesday.
On both occasions you could argue that reverse the runs he and his conquerors had and Majestic Man could have won, and Oamaru trainer Williamson says tomorrow may be the time to take bad luck out of the equation.
“It is his last race of the campaign and it might be time for a change of tactics,” said Williamson.
“I am not saying he should have won those last two races but if he had gone into the passing lane when Brad (Williamson) wanted in the ID Final I think he would have beaten Winterfell.
“And while Oscar is a machine, I think we have gone every bit as good as him at Cambridge when we had to come wide and he trailed.
“So this might be our chance even though it is a very good field.” The Group one 2700m mobile rates as the strongest trotting race in Australasia for at least two years, with most of the Inter Dominion stars plus Oscar Bonavena and last season’s Northern Trot Derby winner Enhance Your Calm.
With so many Group one winners in the field Williamson thinks the best place to be might be in front of them.
“If he shows his usual gate speed and crosses Winterfell, then I’d be happy for Brad to stay in front.
“If he is out there in front trotting even quarters (400m sectionals) in 30 seconds and Oscar is still good enough to come around him and beat him then so be it.
“And that might be the case but this is almost certainly our last run of the campaign. I doubt we will go to Australia for the Great Southern Star so I think it is time to have a crack.”
Williamson will put a boring pole on Majestic Man in case tactics change and he does need to be steered into the passing lane but the prospect of him free-wheeling in front and making the other favourites chase him down would set the National Trot alight.
Tomorrow’s meeting is stacked with All Stars-trained favourites and it is extremely hard to see them beaten in either the Auckland Cup or the $200,000 Sales Series Pace.
So Majestic Man in the Trot and the Robert Dunn-trained pair of Spellbound and Need You Now in he Alabar Sires’ Stakes Championship look the best chances of stopping a total All Stars domination of the final meeting for 2019.
While tactics can change, if Majestic Man can cross Winterfell and lead then regardless of whether he can hold on to win the quinella with Oscar Bonavena comes more sharply into focus as if the pair are lead and parked at the 800m it is going to take a slick trotter to get past them both.
With co-trainer Mark Purdon sticking with Oscar Bonavena as he prepares for an overseas campaign Natalie Rasmussen gets back on Interdom winner Winterfell from barrier one, with Tim Williams the new driver for Enhance Your Calm.
Marcoola, who was a costly early galloper in the Flying Mile at Cambridge, will also have a new driver with Scott Phelan to take the reins, Phelan having done much of the work with the enigmatic trotter since he joined the Barry Purdon stable.