Stocks rise and fall at Addington
By Jonny Turner
More questions were raised than answered when Spankem solidified his New Zealand Cup favouritism by winning the Canterbury Classic.
The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacer used his blistering speed to beat the Robert Dunn pairing of Henry Hubert and Classy Brigade in the group 2 Canterbury Classic.
Spankem enjoyed a beautiful run in the trail throughout, thanks to some canny driving early in the race from Purdon, which effectively sealed the 5yr-old’s win a long way from home.
Henry Hubert showed he was in for a big spring when running a strong second in his first start this term.
The 5yr-old was one of just three runners in the event that gave away a race fitness edge to their rivals.
Fourth placed Ashley Locaz, who was sound in fourth, was also one of those.
Clouds hang over a number of the big names being aimed at New Zealand Cup glory following Friday night’s race.
All Stars pacers Chase Auckland and Ultimate Sniper both botched the start of the race and failed to flatter afterwards.
After catching the field, the pair made three wides runs on to the pace with a lap to go, before Chase Auckland faded at the 500m.
Ultimate Sniper then battled in to fifth placing in the home straight.
A G’s White Socks showed much improved barrier manners to pace off the mark for the first time this campaign in Friday night’s race.
That was as good as it got for the Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer, who battled in to sixth after making a three wide bid before the home turn.
New Zealand Cup aspirant Nandolo also produced a shocker in the event.
The John Howe trained outsider galloped early after a hopple shortener problem, before racing fiercely throughout.
It was a case of two out of three ain’t bad for the stars in Friday night’s Canterbury Park Trotting Cup.
The winner, Oscar Bonavena, and runner-up, Marcoola, produced brilliant efforts when fighting out a close finish to the group 2 feature.
Oscar Bonavena’s star rose again when he staged a huge recovery to win the race after failing to step away from barrier 1.
The All Stars trotter settled five lengths off the back of the field, before catching the field and producing a sweeping finish to win.
Marcoola was excellent in his first start for the season, going down by just a head.
The shock performance of the race came from Sundees Son, who galloped when under pressure in the straight.
The Robert Dunn barn enjoyed much better fortunes in the first South Island heat of the Sires Stakes Series.
Above N Beyond sprinted quickly off a strong speed to win by two lengths over Skippys Delight.
Aqua Sancta held third after sitting parked throughout.