Five horses not to miss at Addington tonight

By Michael Guerin

Spring has sprung and Addington’s booming meeting this Friday feels almost like the start of the serious stuff. Not only do we have the next step on the road to the IRT New Zealand Cup but one of trotting’s “big three” returns, so does our best pacing filly in True Fantasy and plenty of potential lower grade stars.

So here is a very informal ranking of five of the most exciting or interesting horses on show at Addington on Friday night.

1: Muscle Mountain (R5, No.4): A big, scary trotting speed machine he has dealt to both Sundees Son and Bolt For Brilliance in the last year, which is no mean feat. Maybe the fastest trotter in Australasia and the horse to beat in all the trotting sprints, including the Great Southern Star in Victoria in February. He is very, very good and the exciting part is we don’t know just how good yet. The answer to that may depend on whether he can develop the stamina to match his motor but no matter what the distance is almost unbeatable in front.

2: Laver (R8, No.9): The Geoff and James Dunn-trained pacer already has a serious open class record but it is his racing style that gets him on to this list. He is a good old-fashioned stayer often driven fearlesly which makes him the perfect equine antidote to any sit-sprint racing (boring). A lot of pacers take a year in open class to adapt to the lung searing speeds and being out of their comfort zone and if Laver has toughened up even more this campaign, he could be the rock other open class pacers break themselves against, think … a mini version of 1990s hero Franco Ice.

3: Aardie’s Express (R4, No.10): We already know what we are going to get with the superstar of this crop in True Fantasy, who is all business. But we still don’t know what Southland Oaks winner Aardie’s Express will ultimately bring to the party, especially as Team Telfer goes from strength to strength. She probably won’t have the speed or maybe even the motivation to overcome her second line barrier draw in a stacked Nevele R Fillies heat tomorrow but she could be a real player come Oaks time.

 

 4: Bollinger (R9, No.1): Has picked a brutally tough year to be a three-year-old, especially as he was a later maturer who finished the summer a lot better than he started. He finished second to a NZ Cup contender in Akuta in the NZ Derby and looked the most untapped of his crop with a huge stride and if he takes the next step he could claim a Group 1 at some stage. Comes back rated only a R62 which could see him get some easy kills before he has to take on his big-boy stablemates again.

 

 5: Raupunga Lad (R2, No.6): Did you see his debut win in his home province of Southland last week? They said he was good and he is and while his closing sectionals were nothing special his overall time was excellent for a debutante and there was plenty more in the tank. Looks a 5 or even 8-win horse right now so will be fun seeing how steep his improvement curve can be and you are not a true harness racing fan if the thought of a shining star emerging from the deep South doesn’t excite you. Lets hope he can stay here.

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