Punters puzzle at The Park
By Michael Guerin
A simple question could decide the $100,000 Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Does a Miracle Mile winner respect an Auckland Cup winner enough to trail him, especially in a group one sprint at Alexandra Park?
Because that is puzzle facing punters after Spankem drew inside stablemate Turn It Up in one of the last group ones of the northern season.
The pair will dominate betting on the Mile, which actually reverts to the true mile distance of 1609m after being run over 1700m since 2007.
After winning the Auckland Cup and then the Easter Cup last start, Turn It Up might be the best pacer in the country and in any normal race against even this elite level of opposition he would be expected to lead and win.
But stablemate Spankem is drawn inside him at barrier two and considering he won both a prelude and then the Miracle Mile itself by leading he would seem to have every right to park out his stablemate and try for another all-the-way win if he can he reaches the front.
It will be a fascinating key plot to the race, with any pre-race indications from trainers the All Stars sure to have a significant impact on the market.
For all their exploits this season the pair can’t lay total claim to the four-year-old sprint with all but one of their rivals rated 90 or above, which is pretty much open class these days.
While they were the big winners out of the draws in the main pacing race on a stellar premier programme at Alexandra Park, some of the other recent group one winners at the Addington carnival haven’t fared so well.
NZ Trot Championships hero Speeding Spur faces the outside of the front line in the $100,000 Anzac Cup, the final lead-up to next week’s Rowe Cup.
Trainers John and Josh Dickie are happy with how the veteran has come through his last-start win but with Massive Metro (barrier three) and Lemond (four) drawn inside him and Marcoola and Sundees Son certain to be moving from the second line, the race looks one of the hottest contest of the trotting season
Also disadvantaged by the draw at the trifectamates from the NZ Trot Derby, with Lotamuscle, Enhance Your Calm and Tricky Ric all drawing the second line in Friday’s $60,000 Sires’ Stakes Trot.
But while some of those stars face interesting nights at the office exceptional juvenile pacing filly Sweet On Me will be a long way into red odds to remain unbeaten after drawing the front line in the $100,000 Caduceus Club Final, making her everybody’s anchor in the first leg of the $40,000 Pick6.
While Friday night’s meeting is one of the strongest of the season a couple of the big players will be just as focussed on Melton in Victoria on Saturday night, with northern filly Belle Of Montana opening $1,40 to win the A$150,000 Victoria Oaks.
She was brilliant coming from a long way back to win her heat last Saturday and has drawn the ace in this Saturday’s classic, with her natural speeding giving driver Zac Butcher plenty of options on the Barry Purdon-trained filly.
Already the winner of a group one Sires’ Stakes Championship at home if Belle Of Montana can add an Australian group one this weekend she will have gone from unknown maiden to one of the most valuable female pacers in Australasia in just nine starts.