All Stars produce perfection at Addington
By Jonny Turner
Ultimate Sniper kicked his New Zealand Cup campaign in to gear and went some way towards justifying his short odds for the great race when winning at Addington on Friday night.
The 4yr-old unleashed a fast 55.8sec last 800m, on a sticky Addington track that had many horses struggling to break 60sec, to win the meetings open class handicap.
The only flaw in his nearly perfect performance came at the start when Ultimate Sniper produced his second consecutive gallop away from behind the tapes.
The pacer was quickly back in to a pace and he settled for driver Natalie Rasmussen in midfield, before the reinswoman took him to the front with a lap to go.
Ultimate Sniper resisted a short challenge for the lead from Classie Brigade before Rasmussen cranked the speed up from the 800m.
Ultimate Sniper dug deep in the straight to hold off Self Assured by half a head in a thrilling finish.
The runner-up should lose no admirers in his first defeat after giving away a big race fitness advantage to his rivals.
Spankem ran in to third, just half a length away, in a sound effort from his 30m back mark.
Another Masterpiece trailed his stablemates in to fill an All Stars first four.
All of the seven horses in the race produced solid efforts including Nandolo, who was trucking in the straight without any room to move in until it was too late.
Ultimate Sniper held second favouritism for the New Zealand Cup at $5, with his stablemate Thefixer, after the market for the 3200m feature was updated following his win.
Spankem now sits at $2.20, after earlier getting in to $2 odds.
The All Stars also produced the first four in heat three of the Sires Stakes Series when last season’s leading 2yr-old male pacer, One Change, began his 3yr-old term on a perfect note.
Rasmussen has the $1.30 favourite in front throughout and the colt went on for a comfortable win by a length and a half over Flying Even Bettor.
Italian lad caught the eye with a big finish from the rear of the field to take third, ahead of Pur Dan.
The All Stars’ night of perfection continued when star trotter Oscar Bonavena embarrassed his inferior opposition with a massive nine and a half length victory.
The Dominion favourite confirmed his title as Australasia’s most exciting trotter when leading throughout and not giving anything else a chance.
The rest of the field were in a race of their own, which was won by Woodstone, who produced his best run of the spring in the 1980m free-for-all.
Oscar Bonavena was rated at $1.95 odds for the Dominion following his win.
The All Stars stable completed their incredible night out by producing Taxman and Aqua Sancta to quinella a minor event.