Self Assured "has lots of weapons"
By Michael Guerin
On a night of weird and wonderful happenings Self Assured ensured a return to normal service in the Livamol Sprint to end Harness Millions night.
And in doing so made plenty of people happy at New Zealand’s newest racing broadcaster SENZ radio.
The station, one of many owned by Melbourne media tycoon Craig Hutchison, has made a huge impression on the New Zealand racing scene with numerous shows on all three codes, including bringing racing to everyday sports fans on the main shows.
But for all the coverage they also made a splash not even the biggest SENZ fans could have expected when they not only bought a slot in The Race at Cambridge and then went out and secured Self Assured for that slot.
While there is a lot of water to go under the bridge before The Race on April 14, Self Assured is already the $2.50 favourite and looks right on track and their partnership with Jean Feiss will be the envy of many.
As good as he was during the New Zealand Cup carnival, Self Assured has been better this summer and he was very powerful to the line winning the sprint after settling in the trail behind leader Kango.
“He is in a really good place at the moment and has lots of weapons,” said co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon.
“So The Race is his obvious aim and we are looking forward to SENZ being part of that because they are doing a lot for racing.”
The win wasn’t the only major for the Purdon/Cullen stable on the night as earlier True Fantasy jogged home with the three-year-old fillies final.
She worked her way to the lead and rarely looked in danger, with Montana Miki getting the closest after a brilliant David Butcher drive in the runner-up. Considering she is only just starting her three-year-old career True Fantasy already has the record of a great filly with so much more immediately around the corner starting the Northern Oaks next month.
Another all the way winner was juvenile Merlin, who remained unbeaten in the Young Guns heat but runner-up Seve was outstanding in second after an early mistake and the two-year-old crop already looks to have benefitted for the later start to the season.
“He is a very fast horse, and when he was getting tired near the line I gave him a flick and he went again,” said driver Zachary Butcher.
“But I still think he will be better when I can drive him with a trail.”
The Lyell Creek Trot provided bookies with their early multi relief when Bolt For Brilliance jumped straight to the front and didn’t look back, having hot favourite Sundees Son off the bit before the turn.
“He was really sharp tonight and I think those wins over Christmas have been good for him,” said trainer-driver Tony Herlihy.
“The Rowe Cup is his main aim but I will work out soon whether we head south.”
It was the second time Bolt For Brilliance has beaten Sundees Son and both times when he was able to lead.
“No excuses, Bolt For Brilliance is a great horse and trotted a half (800m) in 55 seconds,” said Sundees Son’s driver John Dunn.
“Our horse really missed not having a race last week but on the night the winner was the better horse.”
He went one better in the very next race though when Highgrove jogged around to win the three-year-old trot.