Stats against Cup favourite

By Michael Guerin

Favourite punters should count themselves lucky tonight’s $250,000 Auckland Trotting Cup isn’t being run on paper.

Because based purely on the stats it is near impossible to make a case that $2.20 favourite Turn It Up can beat second favourite and stablemate Dream About Me.

Dream About Me is a former Auckland Cup winner, millionairess with 23 wins next to her name and it took the last lap attentions of Tiger Tara to cost her last month’s New Zealand Cup.

With her near perfect manners she looks certain to lead at some stage of tonight’s 3200m classic and co-trainer Mark Purdon admits she should be at least equal favourite with Turn It Up, rather than pushing $3 as she has been all weekend.

At the other end of the experience scale is Turn It Up, who has had less starts in his career (eight) than Dream About Me has had this season.

He hasn’t won anything resembling a major race, has earned just over $100,000 and yet finds himself favourite for New Zealand’s second biggest harness race of the season.

How? Well, by taking every step asked of him like a horse who will one day win a major Cup. Maybe that day is today.

Turn It Up is clearly a rare talent, reeling off sub-55 second last 800m sectionals at will and his younger, fresher legs may have more speed in them than the battle-hardened Dream About Me.

His only real foray into the deep end of the open class pool saw him chase Cruz Bromac hard when second in the NZ Free-For-All and judging by the way he handled his Alexandra Park debut winning the Franklin Cup last start it is hard to make a case for anything but him and Dream About Me tonight.

So who wins? That might depend on the tempo of the race and that could well favour the newcomer over the Queen.

Tonight’s race has few genuine attackers and if the favourites are able to work forward there is a very real chance of them leading and trailing and then not having to break any records in the middle stages.

That could turn what is often a brutal 3200m into something more like a normal open class race and that would help Turn It Up, whereas Dream About Me paced 3:55.5 to win this race two years ago and could probably do the same again tonight.

“I honestly can’t split them but I think they should be closer together than the bookmakers have them,” said Purdon.

“It could possibly lean toward Dream About Me because she has been there and done that and she nearly won the New Zealand Cup and there is no Tiger Tara in there to attack her this week.

“But it might come down to who leads and who has the luck and that is impossible to predict.”

While you can make cases for Star Galleria and Jack’s Legend to run placings anything but one of the big two winning would be a shock tonight and with so little between them maybe Dream About Me’s price makes more sense

The Cup should cap a huge meeting for the Purdon-Rasmussen stable, who are very confident about the chances of many of their favoured runners, with Smooth Deal (race two), Oscar Bonevena (race three) and Ultimate Sniper (race eight) the best anchors for the army of multi bet players today.

Suggested bet: If Dream About Me gets to $3 take it because it makes sense in what might be a two-horse race a long way from home.

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