A strong chance

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Punters with any lingering doubts about whether Massive Metro’s National Trot win was an aberration only have to ask his regular driver, Todd Mitchell.

The Waiuku trotter, who downed Marcoola convincingly in the Group 1 feature on New Years’ Eve, goes around in the $30,000 Te Awamutu Flying Stakes at Cambridge on Friday night.

Bookies have listed him as the $4.50 third favourite behind Speeding Spur and Temporale, and Mitchell thinks he just needs a little bit of luck to go back-to-back.

“I can’t see why he’s not a strong chance again.

“I probably would have liked to have drawn wide on the front line rather than the inside of the second line, but them’s the breaks.

“I’m following Charlemagne who isn’t that quick out, and beside him is Credit Master, who can gallop, and Majestic One is next and she probably won’t have the speed either.

“I’ve just got to try and get through them somehow early and then get in front of the other two (Speeding Spur, Temporale).

“But that might be the plan for Josh (Dickie, driver Speeding Spur) too, so who knows.”

Mitchell reckons it’s best to forget Massive Metro’s last start at Cambridge on Christmas Eve, when he broke in the score-up.

“He only really missed away because he didn’t have a head pole on.

“He can get away with it right-handed, but he shakes his head and I knew I was in trouble when he started trotting sideways in the warm-up.

“As soon as we turned around to go, he went sideways and it was a no go.

“So, the head pole is on this week and he’ll be fine.”

Punters were stung by the National Trot win, mainly because of how dominant Marcoola had been in recent racing, but Mitchell was very optimistic.

“I was pretty confident.

“I said in an interview before the race that I wouldn’t want to be on any other horse in the race.

“And he just gave me such a great feel throughout.”

The Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis-trained trotter has always held a private reputation and has continued to get better with racing.

“I can’t believe how much the horse improves every time after a wee let-up.

“He comes back again and again and the improvement is unreal.

“He just gives you so much confidence now.

“The other night he was on the job the whole race and just felt like he was never going to be beaten.”

Mitchell has five other drives on the card, the Cambridge club’s centenary meeting, and points to two of them in particular as being strong chances.

“Galleons Victory is definitely better left-handed and the 2700 metres is right up his alley as well.

“And Go Toddy is a good each-way chance from the inside draw.

“I’ve taken the murphy blind off him and put the pull-downs on.

“He was a bit of handful when he first arrived from down south but he’s driving a lot straighter now.

“Trojan Banner will be hard to beat, but we’re a good chance.”

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