Alford hoping draw will work in his favour in ID final

By Adam Hamilton

Champion driver Chris Alford thinks a back row draw could be a blessing in disguise for former Kiwi mare Queen Elida in the Inter Dominion trotting final.

Alford, who has won pacing finals on Golden Reign and Lennytheshark, is yet to win the trotting final.

But he thinks the Brent Lilley-trained Queen Elida has the class and speed to deliver it for him on Saturday night at Melton.

“I’m not fussed about drawing inside the back row, in fact I think it’s a good thing,” he said.

“If the emergency doesn’t get a start, then Musafa Metro will go into one and we’ll follow him out. He’s a quick beginner and will probably try and hold the front."

“So, there’s a chance we will be on the leader’s back or, at worst, three back on the pegs.

“There’s also a chance, if they really burn early – and there are a few quick beginners on that front row – that gaps could appear and I could get into the running line.

“But three pegs wouldn’t bother me, if that’s where we land.

“This field has a bit of a long tail to it and I think a few of them will be struggling when the heat goes on in the last lap, so there should be room when I need it.”

Also in Alford’s favour is that the other big gun of the series, Just Believe, has drawn even worse in gate 12.

“I’d rather my draw than his,” Alford grinned.

Alford was thrilled with Queen Elida’s close second to Mufasa Metro in the last round of heats at Geelong last Saturday night.

“She couldn’t do much more given how the race was run,” he said.

“The leader got away with a really soft lead time, while I was stuck in the running line with a horse three-wide outside me.

“I got going when I could go and sit parked and she ran home in 56sec, but couldn’t quite rundown the leader.”

Although he’s on the $2.10 favourite in the trotting final, Alford will watch the pacing final from the stands without a drive.

So, who would he like to be on?

“It’s an open race with a stack of chances, but Expensive Ego would be my pick,” he said.

“He’s proven at this level and will love the long trip (2760m).

“He might not have won a heat (this series), but all his runs have been great and you know Luke and Belinda (McCarthy) will have him spot on for the final.”

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