Rasmussen makes Cup decision

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Thefixer brought his spring campaign back to life and helped Natalie Rasmussen choose her New Zealand Cup drive when winning at Addington on Friday night.  

The last race for cup-bound pacers might not have been worth much money, but it always promised to be a key lead up event.

While Thefixer sealed Rasmussen’s services in the sulky with his good win, a question mark has been left hanging over early Cup favourite Ultimate Machete.

Rasmussen has driven Cruz Bromac and Eamon Maguire to win the Methven Cup and Ashburton Flying Stakes respectively, and both looked good New Zealand Cup drives.  

The latter will now be driven by Jonny Cox and Rasmussen said her stable will offer Blair Orange the drive on Cruz Bromac.

“They’re both beaut horses and any of them would be a great drive in the Cup, but Thefixer is so genuine and he probably made up my mind (on Friday night),” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said Ultimate Machete would undergo a vetrinary check on Saturday following his disappointing performance.

“Ultimate Machete was quite lethargic and disappointing though and we’re not too sure what’s going on there.

“We’ll hopefully know a lot more after the vet has been to see him later today, but that will be more a physical examination as we don’t think any bugs are involved.”

Thefixer has moved into $5.50 second favouritism for the Cup with the New Zealand TAB, behind Tiger Tara.

Ultimate Machete has drifted out appreciably to $6.

Thefixer returned in top form with two wins in August for Rasmussen before disappointing when run down into third in the New Brighton Cup in mid September.

“He was a bit tender the next day and it turned out he had a foot abscess, which took about a fortnight to blow out.”

The five-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding was shaded by Cruz Bromac when resuming at the Rangiora trials last week, although that was just a sprint home in 26.2 seconds and clearly the run brought Thefixer on just nicely.

Driver Nathan Williamson sett a genuine pace with in front with Captain Dolmio in Friday night’s 2600m handicap.

Rasmussen had Thefixer nicely placed three back in the running line and made her move at the 400m, putting what proved a winning break on Dream About Me.

The latter was again excellent in closing to within three-quarters of a length and she will be as good a chance as any in the Cup for Tim Williams.

Alta Orlando did his Cup prospects no harm by finishing on strongly for third, just shading Bettor Joy in her first race in open company, but Ultimate Machete could not get past a battling Lochaburn after he’d raced parked on the fast pace.

Rasmussen also drove A Bettor Act to win the last Sires Stakes heat at Addington last night.

The victory did nothing to change her mind regarding who will be her drive in the final on New Zealand Cup Day.

“There’s no need to think about that one much – you would need a crowbar to prize me off Ultimate Sniper.”

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