Beach Ball could have the advantage

By Jonny Turner

After his scintillating Group Three victory on Grand Prix Day, it is clearly an advantage for Beach Ball heading into the Group One Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup.

The pacer heads south for trainer Brendon Hill and driver Ricky May after running away from his rivals to win the Summer Cup Free-For-All, crucially beating his main Invercargill Cup rival in Self Assured.

Self Assured now faces the big task of turning around that defeat, which came off level marks from behind the mobile, while giving Beach Ball a 10m head-start.

That puts the Mark and Nathan Purdon stable in the unusual position of being on the back foot heading into the Invercargill Cup.

But there is sure to be a legion of punters willing to back the trainers to have the star pacer ready to fire on his trip south.

Self Assured was plain by his very high standards on Grand Prix day, but just one start prior, the former New Zealand Cup winner produced a scintillating performance to win his second Group One New Zealand Free-For-All.

The handicaps for the Group One Invercargill Cup don’t just add to the intriguing battle between the two favourites.

Third behind Beach Ball on Grand Prix Day and fourth in the New Zealand Cup, American Me gets a crucial head-start from the front line.

Mossdale Ben also gets a head-start on Self Assured, but he starts on level marks with Beach Ball from the 10m mark.

The Hope team has kept the pacer fresh since his handy fourth behind Self Assured in the New Zealand Free-For-All.

Mossdale Ben showed he was right up for the staying test of 3200m at Group One level when fourth across the post in the New Zealand Cup, before being relegated back to sixth.

Several middle-grade horses have been elevated into the Invercargill Cup to bolster the field with the inclusion of Tact McLeod providing plenty of intrigue.

The pacer will leap up in grade to tackle an open class Group One feature in just his fifth start.

And to make it even more of a test, Tact McLeod will have his first standing start in the process.

But after showing outstanding talent in his short career, the horse does look capable of delivering a surprise or two and running a cheeky race.

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