Old Town Road "more like his old self"

by Michael Guerin

Trainer John Dickie has seen something this week he hadn’t in a long time from his exciting pacer Old Town Road. He ran past another horse.

It may have only been a Pukekohe workout and the horse Old Town Road ran past, Kango, may have fought back to beat him but for Dickie the intent of his stable star’s sprint was a crucial pointer to his chances at Alexandra Park over the next eight days.

Old Town Road was opened the TAB’s $2.70 favourite for tomorrow night’s $45,000 Roy Purdon Memorial in which he gets a 10m start from Self Assured and Akuta, potentially crucial over the 2200m spring trip.

Old Town Road comes into the race fresh after his last-start second to Copy That in The Race by Grins five weeks ago, a slight injury sustained in the float on the way home from that race setting him back.

But even before that Dickie felt Old Town Road was an equine sports car racing with a misfiring cylinder, going good races without charging hard at the line.

“I know he was probably never going to beat Copy That in The Race but I expected him to make more of a race of it,” says Dickie.

“He has been a bit that way this campaign and we found his fetlock may have been annoying him but he seemed far more his old self at the workouts last weekend.

“He ran past Kango pretty quickly and while his condition gave out he sprinted more like his old self.

“That was the least fit I have ever had him going into a workout and it has brought him on so much. His work this week has been great and I’d say he is 50 per cent better for that run.”

While Old Town Road will battle Self Assured for favouritism tomorrow night Dickie does have one warning for punters.

“I’d like him to be driven for his speed rather than taking off mid-race to try and lead, although if the leaders run hard off the front we might have no choice but to sit and sprint any way.”

Dickie suggets his trotting mare Resolve can give plenty of cheek off the front in tomorrow night’s $45,000 Anzac Cup, with her work even better than before she finished second to Muscle Mountain in the Group 1 National Trot last start.

Both races are lead-ups to the Rowe Cup (trotters) and Auckland Cup (pacers) at Alexandra Park on Friday week.

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