Spankem looms as horse to beat

By Michael Guerin

Spankem looms as the best bet in today’s $180,000 New Zealand Free-For-All because he has two ways to win the race.

And one of those might make him a certainty.

The Cup runner-up for the second year on Tuesday, Spankem will be the second favourite for today’s pacing group one at Addington with bookies and many punters thinking Amazing Dream deserves to be favourite with the very real chance she might trail potential leader Classie Brigade.

But Spankem may actually be the better bet because he has two ways to win the race.

Driver Natalie Rasmussen will undoubtedly push the button early with Spankem who was fast enough off the gate to lead and win a Miracle Mile last year.

She is probably 50-50 to cross Classie Brigade in a replica of the start of last year’s race when they pair went at it head to head early with Classie Brigade holding the front and Spankem eventually having to sit parked, fading late as Chase Auckland used the passing lane to win.

Of course Spankem doesn’t have to lead to win but if he gets the front it is hard to see him beaten.

But punters willing to take the short odds about him also have the other option that if he can’t cross early it only takes one rival to also go forward and he gets the one-one, from where he is probably flip of the coin against Amazing Dream anyway.

Whereas punters taking the $1.85 on offer for Amazing Dream are going to feel sick if, and it is a big IF, Classie Brigade does get crossed because she could be three back the inner in what is her open class debut in this country.

So as good as the little mare with the low head carry is, Spankem might be the better percentage option for punters today.

The Dunn vs Purdon-Rasmussen theme could also play out in today’s $40,000 Southern Mares Classic with Beyond Words drawn the ace but Dunn on Need You Now drawn barrier nine.

Need You Now went within inches of not being eligible for today’s race when she pushed Amazing Dream close in the Nevele R Mares Final on Tuesday and while that was run in national record time Dunn says Need You Now have taken no harm from the run.

“She was bouncing around the paddock like a mad thing on Wednesday so she is fine,” says Dunn.

“I don’t think we need to blast across them from that wide and try and lead straight away but we will be going forward and she can win.”

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