Hot And Treacherous looks the goods in Auckland tonight
By Michael Guerin
Rarely does a pacer who has been unplaced in two of his last three starts look as good a thing as Hot And Treacherous does at Alexandra Park tonight.
Because while driver Maurice McKendry is his conservative self when assessing his chances in tonight’s main pace, the reality is the four-year-old should be way too good for his opponents.
Hot And Treacherous has two seconds and two well beaten runs in four starts this campaign but a closer look at his form reveals the huge class edge he has on his rivals tonight.
He ran second fresh up four starts ago to Old Town Road, whose efforts at Addington last week left no doubts he is one of the best pacers in the country.
Hot And Treacherous then missed away from a 40m handicap and made ground late for sixth to Copy That over 2200m pushing the subsequent NZ Cup to a nose, albeit with a 20m start over him, in a sensational race at Cambridge.
He returned to that venue last week and was back in the field and about to launch when a rival galloped in front of him and he was pushed off the track and out of the race but McKendry says Hot And Treacherous was going great before the melee.
“I think people can forget last week and the start before he was very good pushing Copy That so close,” says McKendry.
“So I am not worried about his form. Barrier 8 isn’t easy to overcome over the mile and I might not be rushing forward early but he has to be hard to beat.”
Hot And Treacherous’s rivals are all rated 19 points or more below him and while they could easily pace a 1:55 mile tonight and make him work he is probably capable of 1:52.5 around Alexandra Park on a good night so barring more bad luck he should win.
Most of tonight’s races are miles and with Alexandra Park not ideally set up for that distance because of the short run to the first bend they can provide some puzzles but in recent seasons the mainly mile nights haven’t been as leader dominated as expected.
One horse who should love tonight’s 1609m is Invictus (R6, No.5), who is a sprint specialist at Alexandra Park but usually over the far more common 2200m. His mile record is only one win and one placings in eight attempts but another deeper form dive tells a different story as two of his mile failures were in open class this year against Muscle Mountain and Sundees Son while another was a second to Temporale.