Just one win separates country's top two trainers

By Michael Guerin

A premiership battle that looked over last Saturday afternoon could be set to go down to the wire.

The harness racing trainer’s premiership heads into the last 10 days of the season, which is now based on the calendar year, with just one win separating leaders Steve and Amanda Telfer on 94 wins and the All Stars operation of Mark Purdon and Hayden Cullen on 93.

The battle for the title of New Zealand’s top trainer is resembling a heavyweight title fight in which both boxers look out of their feet but are unable to land the knockout punch.

The Telfers had the All Stars on the ropes last Saturday when an early win at Invercargill put them three clear in the title race with favourite B D Joe still to come in the $100,000 Invercargill Cup.

Had he won the gap would have become four and the premiership would have almost certainly have been heading north but B D Joe galloped at the start of the Cup won by Krug.

The All Stars also trained two lower grade winners later in the Invercargill programme and we are back to a one-win gap even though the TAB still has Team Telfer $1.35 to win the title against the All Stars at $2.90.

Neither stable has huge numbers engaged over the next week, with the Telfers having a good winning chance at Ashburton on Thursday with Cloudy Bay and hopes at Addington (Friday) and Cambridge on Saturday.

While Purdon/Cullen are involved at fewer meetings they do have two big winning chances at Addington on Friday night in Oscar Bonavena and the unbeaten pacer Lumen Caeli.

But even if they both win the All Stars won’t have many horses racing week as there is only one meeting in Canterbury and they are not travelling to win the title, whereas the Telfers are sending a small team to the three-day West Coast circuit and have meetings at both Cambridge and Alexandra Park to end the season.

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