Bolt For Brilliance back, and in top order
By Michael Guerin
Starting a new campaign off a 30m backmark in a fast class race at Alexandra Park is rarely a recipe for success.
Unless you are superstar trotter Bolt For Brilliance in the $20,000 Kitchen Things Trot tonight, the second leg of a feature race double which starts with the pacers in the Holmes D G.
For all the talents of horses like Hot And Treacherous and Old Town Road in the pacing feature, the star of the night should be Bolt For Brilliance who smashed his opposition, including Sundees Son, in the Rowe Cup last time he strolled on to Alexandra Park.
Even for a horse who has won two Harness Jewels that performance in May was a new career high and suggests under the right circumstances Bolt For Brilliance could ascend to be the best trotter in Australasia in the next year.
He looked forward and mentally dialled in when not pushed to finish second to Hot And Treacherous in fast time at the Pukekohe trials recently and trainer-driver Tony Herlihy was so impressed he didn’t feel the need to take him back to the trials last weekend.
“He is ready to go but like all horses in this grade he will improve with the run,” says Herlihy.
Even with that in mind Bolt For Brilliance is remarkably well placed for a horse starting off a 30m backmark because there are only two unruly rivals on the front line, two on 10m handicaps and the remaining four will start from the 20m mark.
So Bolt For Brilliance is only giving away 10m to half his rivals and some of those 20m markers are rated in the R80-90 band, whereas Bolt For Brilliance is rated a whopping 118, the conditions of the race enormously in his favour because it has a maximum backmark of 30m.
The field composition also helps because Bolt For Brilliance is at his lackadaisical worst when he is disconnected from the back of the field but tonight, with four of his rivals 10m in front of him, he should be straight onto the back of the main bunch and get his competitive juices flowing. So he should simply win.
The Holmes D G, which commemorates former ATC president Kerry Hoggard, should also be dominated by the backmarkers and one of them Old Town Road has a decided fitness edge over Hot And Treacherous.
Old Town Road has been brilliant in two wins so far this campaign and is fast, the small field giving him the option of being driven for speed if his rivals play catch-me-if-you-can.
Hot And Treacherous is better performed overall and already has major league scalps like Spankem and South Coast Arden so can also win but, even after his recent impressive trial, he may be more conservatively driven fresh up over 2700m.
Tonight’s meeting kicks of a huge weekend on the road to the IRT New Zealand Cup with Copy That taking on the Aussies in the Victoria Cup tomorrow night and many of the NZ Cup favourites racing at Methven on Sunday.