Dont' be fooled
By Michael Guerin
Don’t be fooled into thinking a change of drivers signals On The Cards as the clear horse to beat in the $50,000 JLT Futurity at Cambridge tonight.
Because while top horseman Zac Butcher hopes he has pulled the right rein he can’t be sure.
Butcher has been the long-time driver for Jack’s Legend, the former NZ Cup runner-up to Lazarus who was a sound fourth in the Auckland Cup two starts ago.
Back in a moderate four and five-year-old race he surely looks the horse to beat, especially as the small field could see him use his gate speed.
But Butcher will partner the less-credentialed Barry Purdon stablemate On The Cards, who has yet to mix it at the open class group company that Jack’s Legend has. Scott Phelan will partner Jack’s Legend.
“Ultimately the driver’s decision was up to Barry but, given the choice, I probably would have chosen On The Cards.
“Jack’s Legend is very fast, faster than On The Cards, but I thought On The Cards was super running second to Elle Mac in that 1:51 mile rate for 1700m last start.
“I could be wrong and either of them could win without surprising me but I am happy to be on On The Cards.”
Butcher admits Jack’s Legend may have more gate speed than On The Cards and could jump in front of him at the start and that, coupled with the small field being dominated by two stables (Purdon and Steve Telfer) could make for a tactical affair.
The race almost feels like an afterthought at the end of a busy northern summer but at $50,000 with group two status it is going to be a profitable afterthought for somebody.
It is also a leg of the $50,000 Pick6, with a jackpot from last week making this week’s pool more attractive than some of the lukewarm Thursday night Pick6 offerings.
That starts on race five where the draw of Trojan Banner (1) and the talent of Eastanbull (11) suggest you only need that pair on your ticket.
The second leg has a hot favourite in Cowgirls N Angels (2) and her only real danger looks to be Phil Bromac (7).
The third leg is a horror show that you could make a case for taking the field before the Futurity as the fourth leg.
Rock N Shard (5) is favoured over Afortunado (4) and Chosen Major (1) in the fifth leg while the trot always requires a few in the last leg and if you get that far you will want at least Malabar Spur (2), Caitlin’s Surprise (4), Grenado (5), Primus Inter Paris (6) and Luck Of The Moment (7).