Big guns to do battle at Addington tonight
By Michael Guerin
The only real Achilles heel champion trotter Sundees Son has could be targeted by his own stablemate Mataderos at Addington tonight.
And driver John Dunn admits he doesn’t know whether the new millionaire of trotting can justify his hot favouritism in the $30,000 Lamb And Hayward Trotters Classic, the next chapter in what is shaping as a vintage autumn of trotting.
Sundees Son is clearly the best trotter in Australasia and basically unbeatable when in front, with his stamina enabling him to trot times that exhaust the sprint out of his rivals.
He is so dominant he still often wins when asked to sit parked but his defeats, as rare as they are, come when good trotters like Muscle Mountain and a race rival tonight in Bolt For Brilliance get in front of him and can trot sub-56 second last 800m sectionals.
While Bolt For Brilliance returns south tonight he shares the 10m mark with Sundees Son and that raises the possibility of Sundees Son’s stablemate Mataderos working to the lead and holding the favourites at bay.
Mataderos has chased Sundees Son home and pushed him close doing it on several occasions, most notably in the Dominion in November and Dunn, part of the stable that trains both, says Mataderos gets his chance tonight.
“I think if he steps he will be hard to catch,” says Dunn.
“Sundees Son is the better horse but the gap between them has closed quite a bit and if he can reach the front I don’t think Blair (Orange, driver) will let up.
“If he does and my horse gets around and sits parked easily then Sundees Son is Sundees Son and I think he will be too good.
“But if Mataderos runs really hard then I don’t want to be taking off and giving my horse a gutbuster the week before a group one so we could end up giving him a decent start.
“With all that in mind Mataderos gets his best chance to beat my horse this week.”
The tempo and tactics could also decide the chances of Bolt For Brillance, who has been outstanding this season and will return south a better horse than the one Sundees Son and Mataderos beat so easily in the Dominion.
He has raw speed if he can get near the lead and tracking Sundees Son in a one-one position he could blow past both Dunn runners.
Later in the night Dunn warns punters to be careful with star three-year-old Highgrove off a 20m handicap against older horses in race 8.
“It is a big field and if a horse like Resolve leads and runs time off the front line she is going to be really hard to beat because our horse has ended up on a tough rating considering he has been racing his own age mostly.”
The Addington meeting will hold centre stage tonight as Alexandra Park continues to struggle for numbers and has only attracted six races, with the programmed open class pace, one of the final lead-ups to The Race, being scrapped after it only attracted four entries.
That will see Self Assured, Mach Dan and Spankem have a trial before the first race tonight to further prep them for the $900,000 slot race.