Draw against NZ Cup favourite
By Michael Guerin
The IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup market has been turned on its head by an incredible piece of bad luck for defending champion Self Assured.
The long-time favourite will start from the second line in Tuesday’s $600,000 classic and while that puts him back with South Coast Arden, who is on the unruly, both horses will have to give Auckland pacer and the race’s other favourite Copy That a start as he has drawn the front line.
Self Assured’s draw is not a total horror show as he is at two on the second line with no horses immediately outside him because the next three horses are rated unruly and therefore have to stand wider and a little further back.
But those who were taking his $2 pre-draw price will feel a lot less comfortable now traffic and tempo will come more into play than they did last year when he was able to lead then trail and roar clear at the top of the Addington straight.
He has been awfully unlucky to end up on the second line as Addington’s 3200m start sees 10 on the front line and five on the second, with horses moving forward from the second line draw when the emergencies come out to fill out that 10.
Until Monday both Kango and Henry Hubert were rated unruly and had they remained so there would have been five unruly horses in the field of 15, meaning the other 10 all had to start on the front line.
But when the connections of Henry Hubert and Kango took them off the unruly took them it meant two of the starters were going to be unlucky enough to draw the second line, Self Assured being one of the pair that did.
That saw him re-open at $2.70, while Copy That’s wide front line draw looks almost ideal and he is into $4.50 while South Coast Arden, who has been incredibly short in the market all spring back out to $5, not through any fault but as the enormity of his task comes more sharply into focus.
The other pacing group one on the programme, the $170,000 Woodlands Stud Sires’ Stakes Final has the two big guns drawn almost next to each other and set to dominate with Republican Party at barrier one and Franco Indie at three, with TAB bookmaker Matt Peden suggesting Franco Indie will be odds-on when that market opens on Thursday morning.
The NZ Trotting Free-For-All sees Bolt For Brilliance (3) better drawn that Majestic Man (6) and Oscar Bonavena (7) with all three certain to be happy Muscle Mountain and Sundees Son will bypass the race to prepare for the Dominion on Friday week.
Cup Day will be run with only a crowd of around 1200 instead of its usual 20,000 because of Covid but Addington and the TAB have joined forces to form a national punter’s clubs in which punters can buy tickets from TAB agencies or online starting this Saturday for some collective huge punts to add to their off-track experience.