Bridesmaids get their chance
By Michael Guerin
The bridesmaids are set to get their chance in Cambridge’s race of the season.
Because both Jack’s Legend and Star Galleria have drawn to try and upset the All Stars apple cart in the $60,000 Waikato Flying Mile on Friday night.
The sprint race is the centrepiece of the club’s centenary celebrations and has drawn a field worthy of the occasion, with the first ever clash between New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer and last week’s Auckland Cup champ Turn It Up.
The latter will start a hot favourite after drawing the ace in the mobile mile while Thefixer faces a huge task in his first start for two months drawn the outside of the eight-horse field.
But while Turn It Up will dominate betting the draws of Jack’s Legend (barrier three) and Star Galleria (four) at least suggest some early fireworks.
Both have proven Cup bridesmaids to All Stars runners before — Jack’s Legend finishing second to Lazarus in last season’s New Zealand Cup while Star Galleria was second to Turn It Up last week.
But what Jack’s Legend and Star Galleria both have is real gate speed and they have also used it before to upset highly favoured Purdon-Rasmussen favourites.
Jack’s Legend began brilliantly to lead and down Ultimate Machete in the Jewels as a three-year-old while Star Galleria led and won this race last season defeating a red hot Heaven Rocks.
And their trainers agree their only chance of beating Turn It Up this Friday is crossing him at the start.
“Usually those good horses have good gate speed but we have to have a crack to find out,” says Star Galleria’s trainer Steven Reid of Turn It Up.
“My horse is flying and came through the Auckland Cup great so he will be heading forward and with Jack’s Legend in there too at least Turn It Up will have some pressure early.” Reid also has Utmost Delight in the race and his pair will then head to Australia to be campaigned in both Victoria and New South Wales.
“I want to qualify Utmost Delight for the Ladyship Mile in Sydney so she will contest the Ladyship Cup at Melton on January 26,” explains Reid.
“Star Galleria will race is a sprint race (Casey Classic) that night and then the Hunter Cup on February 2 and then they both head up to the Miracle Mile meeting at Menangle.”
Rival trainer Barry Purdon is also hoping Jack’s Legend can at least test Turn It Up early on Friday and set himself up for an Australian campaign.
“He has really good gate speed whereas we haven’t seen Mark’s horse (Turn It Up) from the mobile all that much so we have to have a look at the start and see how we go,” says Purdon.
Purdon is eyeing Australia with three of his horses, with Jack’s Legend still a chance to chase a Miracle Mile spot in Sydney next month.
If he heads there that might increase the chances of exciting filly Belle Of Montana making the trip to Sydney after owner Queensland-based owner Dean Shannon left the decisions between the Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park and the NSW Oaks the same weekend to Purdon.
“He said it is up to me so she will race here on February 8 and then we can firm up which Oaks will aim her at.” Purdon will send three-year-old pacer Supreme Dominator to the Victoria Derby heats next week, where he will join Another Masterpiece as the NZ rep.