Old Town Road set for first start in 2024

By Michael Guerin

Winning would be a bonus when Old Town Road resumes at Alexandra Park tonight.

That is not to say trainer John Dickie doesn’t want his stable star to win the $40,000 Lincoln Farms Founders Cup and he is adamant he can.

But first and foremost Dickie is just happy the race, in fact the whole Alexandra Park meeting, is being held at all.

The meeting will consist of just seven races with a total of 47 starters.

The fields are quite even with few standout favourites so there is still value to be found.

One of the those races could even be the Founders Cup, which only has five starters but needed to be held after a similar race last week was canned.

Cambridge are a month away from holding the $1million Race by Grins and horses based in the north have to be given racing opportunities to prepare for it otherwise they will get spanked like a rock-hard fit superstar like Leap To Fame.

“That is why I am so glad the race got off the ground,” says Dickie.

“These horses need and deserve some racing. We are pretty sure we are in The Race by Grins but we need racing to get ready for it.”

That is especially true for Old Town Road as the natural speedster doesn’t have the recent racing under his belt that key rivals Self Assured and Mach Shard do for tonight’s sprint.

“He has had three workouts but in one of them he didn’t go so well and we found out he had a bug bothering him so we eased up for a few days and started again,” explains Dickie.

Old Town Road won his Pukekohe workout two weeks ago and was second to Mach Shard last weekend when driven cold.

Their draws suggest different tactics tonight with Old Town Road drawn barrier 2 and with the gate speed to reach and then hold the lead.

“There is no point giving away that advantage so if he can lead I’d like to see him stay there,” says Dickie.

In a a five-horse field over just 1700m it is hard to envisage much pressure so early intent from the drivers could be crucial as if either Self Assured or Mach Shard rush forward early a fresh-up Old Town Road may adopt more conservative tactics.

So even the small field provides some intrigue.

Two juvenile races, full of largely unknown talents, add interest to the meeting while Northern Oaks second favourite All You Need Is Me makes her Alexandra Park debut in the last race.

She is a daughter of champion mare Adore Me by speed stallion Captaintreacherous so one of the most valuable pacers racing in the country.

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