Muscle Mountain the one to beat in Ordeal Cup

By Michael Guerin

A spectacular trial at Rangiora last week could help Muscle Mountain make a winning return at Addington tonight but not for the usual reasons.

The giant trotter with the motor to match provides one of the highlights of a hot meeting at Addington tonight as he takes on some outstanding rivals while the open class pace is the next step to the IRT New Zealand Cup and the All Stars start to roll out some of their elite three-year-olds.

For all the talent on show Muscle Mountain is the x-factor horse.

He was too fast for both Sundees Son and Bolt For Brilliance on occasions last season and has high speed, not so much as a sit-sprint weapon but more when he winds up, making him nearly impossible to catch when he leads.

His huge trial win last week suggested if he can secure the pacemaking role in tonight's Renwick Farms Ordeal Trotting Cup (Group 3) he will win but driver Ben Hope says the real benefit of the trial may be in aiding Muscle Mountain to step away safely.

This time last year he proved costly for punters when missing away while fresh but Hope doesn’t expect that tonight.

“When he galloped from stands last year he hadn’t had a trial so I hope that trial last week has taken that freshness out of him and settled him down,” says Hope.

“It has to be a wee bit of a concern but I think he will be okay.”

The Hope stable also have last-start winner Midnight Dash and Enghien in the big trot against Majestic Man, Mataderos, Oscar Bonavena and Habibi Inta, the latter returning after two years away from the track.

“As good as Midnight Dash and Enghien are the reality is Muscle Mountain is too good for them at his best.”

Tonight’s open pace, the Group 3 Avon City Ford Cup,  sees in-form northern pair of Alta Wiseguy and B D Joe against two other impressive stablemates in Laver and The Falcon while Heza Sport beat many of these last start well enough to suggest he can win again as those just below the absolute elite pacers start to sort out their pecking order.

Earlier in the night high-class filly True Fantasy (R4, No.5) returns in a very strong Nevele R Fillies heat while her three-year-old stablemates Bollinger and Franco Mac, along with Republican Party add class to race 9, the Garrards Mobile Pace. 

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