Chmiel gets call up to drive B D Joe

By Michael Guerin

Don’t let the shock driver change for B D Joe put you off the favourite in Friday's $60,000 Canterbury Classic at Addington.

The 2600m standing start race sees the road to the New Zealand Trotting Cup get far steeper as three of the biggest names in pacing Akuta, Self Assured and Krug resume in a capacity field.

While that trio will all improve with their outings any could win without surprising but the fitter stablemates B D Joe and Aardie’s Express have an obvious advantage.

That comes with slight twist that B D Joe’s regular reinsman Tim Williams will partner Aardie’s Express even though she is the open class newcomer.

So Terry Chmiel, who rarely drives at the highest level these days, will partner B D Joe for his now bosses Steve and Amanda Telfer.

“I wouldn’t read too much into Tim driving the mare because that was my decision,” says Steve Telfer.

“She is still learning and new to this grade and I didn’t want to be putting a new driver on her, which we would have had to do if Tim had driven B D Joe.

“This is sort of her main NZ Cup trial and if she performs really well then she can remain in a Cup path but if not then things night change and that could see Tim back on B D Joe for his next start.

“Terry has been working for us for 2-3 months now and is a very experienced horseman so I still think B D Joe is the best chance of our three (Allamericanlover being the other) in the race.”

The first 200m will be crucial as if the favoured Telfer pair can work themselves to handy positions, or even the dream lead-trail scenario, they could be too slick over the last 800m.

But the raw class in the field belongs to Akuta and Self Assured, the latter also with an unexpected driver change as Zachary Butcher fills in for regular driver Natalie Rasmussen.

Earlier in the night two of the other big names of the harness game both face awkward tasks form tricky starting positions.

Muscle Mountain (R6, No.8) should be able to overcome his 20m handicap in the main trot as it was only an early check that saw him beaten by Aardiebythehill last start and he will strip fitter.

Don’t Stop Dreaming (R7, No.10) is one of our two best three-year-olds but that forces him to start from the outside of the front line over 1980m with plenty of fit, hard-running rivals inside him who will make his life difficult.

He can still win because he has the x-factor of a top All Stars pacer but with trainer-driver Mark Purdon suggesting he will drive him conservatively early, punters should be careful about anchoring him in all their multis.

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