Draws add to Harness Million puzzle
By Michael Guerin
The biggest names heading to Addington on Friday night have also been handed the toughest tasks.
Which should make for a thrilling Harness Million meeting and create enough uncertainty in the minds of punters and bookies to launch a betting bonanza.
Almost all of the warm or even potentially hot favourites for the meeting have drawn the worst barriers draws. In the case of superstar trotters Sundees Son and Muscle Mountain they will have to start off 20m in the XCM Sport Canterbury Park Trotting Cup.
That comes as no surprise as the conditions of their race were well known but not so thrilled when the fields came out on Tuesday would have been the connections of some of the other huge names.
Both unbeaten colts in the $200,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million for juveniles in Merlin (outside of front line) and Don’t Stop Dreaming (outside of second line) have got close to the worst possible draws so luck and tempo is going to play a crucial role.
It doesn’t get much better for Akuta (8) and Republican Party (10) in the $100,000 Airpark Canterbury Flying Stakes, although Akuta would seem to have more options as he looks to put his New Zealand Cup campaign back on track.
Not quite so dramatic is red hot favourite Millwood Nike drawing the outside of the gate in the $150,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million juvenile fillies event as she faces just five rivals so will start from barrier 6 as everybody’s multi anchor.
Continuing the theme favourite Southern Diamond has drawn the outside of the second line in the $75,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million juvenile trot.
Also on show on Friday night and facing tough assignments will be class mares Darling Me (8) and Stylish Memphis (9) in the $20,000 Sweet Lou "The Best Is Yet To Come" mares pace while the feature handicap pace, the Harness Racing Unhinged Handicap, sees New Zealand Cup contenders B D Joe, Kango, Krug and Cranbourne all off 20m and Heza Sport off 10m.
The 12-race programme starts at 4.42pm.