Five races you must see this weekend
By Michael Guerin
None of the biggest races of the harness racing season are held this weekend but plenty of races which will have an big impact on them, and their markets, are.
Here are the five races you shouldn’t miss this weekend:
1: Lamb And Hayward Canterbury Classic, Addington, 8.41pm Friday:
Two things can happen here. One is Self Assured wins, meaning normal transmission resumes and he is back to $2 for the IRT NZ Cup and basically favourite to win everything he contests… or, he gets beaten.If that happens not only does the winner (B D Joe, Spankem?) increase their stocks but we start thinking more about whether Copy That or Rock N Roll Doo can win the Cup.
Either way, the Classic is a market shaper.
2: Garry Thompson Trot, Addington, 7.42pm:
This is a race Sundees Son really shouldn’t be able to win. He has only had one trial, is off a 30m handicap against race fit rivals and it is doubtful John Dunn will go to war on him.
So if he wins it is a huge warning to the open class pretenders that they will need to do something special to deny him his third Dominion. If Muscle Mountain is too fast and too fit then the big three remain just that but if something else wins, which would be incredibly rare for any race containing at least two of the big three, then the trotting ranks will feel that little bit more open.
Muscle Mountain, after all that, seems the best winning chance but that means betting against a champion.
3: Lazarus Stakes, Addington, 7.14pm:
Almost everybody is tuning into this one expecting and maybe hoping Akuta wins.The reasons are he will carry the bulk of the multis, if he wins his NZ Cup campaign remains alive and maybe he is the new superstar, the next generation.If he wins those dreams remain alive. He gets beaten in a three-year-old race and the multis, the Cup campaign and the potential champion status either disappear or go on hold.
That is a lot of pressure for a $20,000 race.
4: Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby heat 2, Melton, 11.28pm Saturday night:
This may be past most people’s bed times but make sure you catch the replay because it contains two very special three-year-olds in Leap To Fame and Captain Ravishing. Leap To Fame has won two Derbys and could well be a thorn in the side of NZ raiders for years to come whereas Captain Ravishing has been thrashing his opponents in Victoria, including our own Simply Sam. These are the next wave of Australian stars on a wonderful night with major race pointers for the entire summer.
5: Races 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 at Timaru on Sunday.
I know, I know. That isn’t one race, it is five but they make for one big event, the $20,000 Spring Rewards. Almost certainly these horses will never win a NZ Cup or a Dominion but for many of their connections this IS their NZ Cup or Dominion.
The Rewards series races provide targets for the target-less and sit alongside Country Cups as races worth more than their stake money because it is like against like. What is not to like about that?