Spankem likely to upset in Taylor Mile
by Michael Guerin
Champion trainer Mark Purdon has given punters a huge push for Spankem to upset more favoured stablemate Turn It Up in the $100,000 Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park tonight.
Because while Purdon won’t be drawn on who is the better pacer he believes Spankem will lead tonight’s sprint and some incredible stats suggest that makes him clearly the horse to beat.
Purdon and training partner Natalie Rasmussen dominate the Mile with Spankem, Turn It Up and Chase Auckland but it is the first two who head the market as they have barriers two and three respectively.
After a stunning season, including winning the Auckland Cup on this track, Turn It Up could be the best pacer in the country and many punters would expect him to go forward tonight and get the lead off either Mach Shard (1) or more likely Spankem (2).
But Purdon says that is unlikely to be the case even though a lead-trail scenario would almost guarantee the stable the quinella.
“Natalie (Rasmussen, driving Spankem) will probably lead and I think she has to drive her own race and stay there,” says Purdon frankly.
“So I wouldn’t think I’d get the front with Turn It Up. He can still win but with Spankem likely to be in front I think he might even be our best chance.”
As good as Turn It Up is, if Spankem leads then his stats this season suggest he is clearly the horse to beat at the $3.1 offered by bookies could be great value.
Spankem has had 13 starts this season and led in five of those. He won them all, including the Miracle Mile and it’s Prelude as well as the star-studded Kaikoura Cup.
His only other win came when sitting parked outside an inferior rival and controlling the tempo, so a similar pattern to leading.
But in the seven other starts this season where he hasn’t been able to lead he has been beaten, running unplaced in three of them.
Stat fact: when Spankem leads he wins, when he doesn’t he usually doesn’t.
Of course nothing is guaranteed in racing but considering he was fast enough off the gate to lead the Miracle Mile two starts ago, has the uber aggressive Rasmussen on and Purdon seemingly happy to concede the front, Spankem is the horse you want to be on tonight.
A reversal in the market as money comes for Spankem could even gift punters the opportunity to cover late on Turn It Up, who is exceptional and could still win from the one-one but might struggle to justify favouritism sitting parked.
Purdon is very confident Sweet On Me will remain unbeaten in the Caduceus Club Classic while he warns punters on two fronts with Enhance Your Calm in the Sires’ Stakes Trot.
The hot favourite was beaten after leading in the NZ Trot Derby but went into the race looking too skinny so early in a campaign.
“We had the vets go over him after that race and find he had a few little niggles which were treated and he must have put on 30 or 40kgs since then so clearly they were bothering him.
“So I think he will be better this week but I would like to drive him differently from the second line. “Often in is his races he has led easily but he has been explosive at the trials when driven with a sit so he might get a chance to show that this week.”
For all the class of those races the contest of the night should be the Anzac Cup, which looks the trotting race of the season so far.
There are a huge number of wining chances and while the best version of Marcoola could overcome his second line draw any one of (in order or preference) Massive Metro, Lemond, Ronald J, Speeding Spur, Sundees Son, Majestic Man or even Temporale could win without shocking.
Punting at the Park
Best: Spankem (R7, No.2): Turn It Up might even be the better horse but if the Miracle Mile winner is going to lead in a mile at Alexandra Park you simply have to be on him.
Longshot: Ronald J (R6, No.2): Had a few issues last couple of starts but at massive money tonight he could he handy in a tricky tactical race.
Place punt: Kratos (R5, No.2): Not as good as some here but highest assessed of the front line horse and if he finds the markers first has options.