Belle Of Montana out of the Cup
By Michael Guerin
The second of pacing’s glamour girls is out of the New Zealand Trotting Cup, raising the very real possibility there may be no mares in the great race this season.
Trainer Barry Purdon has pulled multiple group one winner Belle Of Montana out of the $540,000 Cup at Addington three weeks today and will instead aim her at mares races.
“I have actually given her a week off and will set her for the mares races at Alexandra Park in December,” said Purdon.
“With the the good mares races she has coming up over the summer I decided she doesn’t need to be going down the NZ Cup path.
“I takes a very good mare to win a race like that and she has plenty of good group one options remaining where she doesn’t have take on the boys over 3200m.”
Belle Of Montana’s arch rival Princess Tiffany was pulled out of the Cup last month and has since headed to Victoria where she was stunning winning a major mare’s race on Saturday night, now finding herself favourite to win Melton’s Triple Crown.
That leaves just one mare in New Zealand Cup reckoning, the much-improved Wild Excuse, who after her third in the Methven Cup last week sits 17th in the rankings. With doubts over a couple of those ranked above her she may make the final 15.
One horse guaranteed to be in the race should his connections want is Ashley Locaz, who returned from an Australian campaign yesterday to bolster the All Stars numbers for the Cup.
Alexandra Park hosts the next Cup lead-up this Friday night with the 2200m mobile there featuring On The Cards, who has snuck into the Cup field for now with Belle Of Montana’s withdrawal
Two of the north’s leading Cup hopes will be missing though with both Copy That and Mach Shard heading to the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on Monday to take on Self Assured and Spankem.
The Alexandra Park meeting is highlighted by the return clash of this exceptional four-year-old trotting crop, with Bolt For Brilliance trying to add the Sires’ Stakes to his Sales Series win from two starts ago but has again drawn outside key rival Cracker Hill.