Favourites draw well on Rowe Cup night
By Michael Guerin
At first glance the three favourites for the glamour races of Rowe Cup night at Alexandra Park appear to have been handed the perfect draws to continue their dominance of the carnival.
But when it comes to trotters Sundees Son and Five Wise Men those looks may be deceiving.
Copy That in the Taylor Mile, Sundees Son in the Anzac Cup and Five Wise Men (Sires Stakes) all won their major assignments last Friday night and will be hot favourites to do so in group ones this Friday, Alexandra Park’s biggest night meeting of the season.
Copy That has drawn barrier two in the $95,000 Dawson Harford Messenger and looks certain to lead and take a power of beating again.
Even though Bad To The Bone got very close to Copy That last Friday he was coming off a strong diet of mile racing at Menangle and was super but Copy That and he beat the rest easily enough.
So if he lands in front again, as it looks almost certain, then it it going to take some intense mid-race pressure and maybe an Amazing Dream (barrier four) special to down Copy That.
Punters might feel the same way when they initially see Sundees Son drawn the ace in the Rowe Cup, especially after his thumping win in the Anzac Cup last Friday.
If Sundees Son can step to the lead or even stay handy in the first three or four then he should defend the What The Hill Rowe Cup title he won in 2019 (the race was not held last season) but few trainers like barrier one in 3200m standing start races.
Often, as we saw in this season’s controversial New Zealand Cup, the horses who come into line first for inside draws in standing start races can get left flat when those wider on the track come up later and can have momentum.
It happens less in the North Island where oddly, considering they have less standing starts, they seem to run more smoothly than in Canterbury.
Aiding Sundees Son as he tries to beat the curse of barrier 1 in a major 3200m group one is the fact there are only six others runners on the front line, with the remaining four starters on the unruly.
That should, and when you are talking about standing starts should is always they key word, mean Sundees Son and those drawn inside don’t have to stand around for too long and even if he is a touch slow he won’t have a dozen horses in front of him because it is only a small field.
Still, punters wanting to take odds-on about him will have the right to be nervous in the seconds before the standing start tapes ping.
Five Wise Men could also be odds-on in the Breckon Farms Trotting Derby as barrier four looks almost ideal over the 2700m, especially as he handled his Alexandra Park debut like a pro last week.
But drawn directly inside him is speedster Leaf Stride, who has been luckless in his last two starts behind Five Wise Men and his trainer Phil Williamson wanted a front line draw this week to use his gate speed.
He has got that and the tactics his team decide on if he does lead could decide the race.
The group one winner from last Friday facing the greatest test is juvenile pacing filly True Fantasy who has drawn the outside of the second line in the Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes, which could be extremely difficult to overcome over 1700m.