Stratford’s team on song for Tuapeka
By Jonny Turner
Unsurpassable will be out to live up to his name on Tuapeka Cup Day.
The Tony Stratford trained pacer comes into his 2200m assignment in race 5 with the best maiden form on offer in the south.
Two starts ago Unsurpassable ran second to highly impressive two-year-old Sporty Charlie, before going on to run another second to another smart type in Hurricane Hendrix.
While he meets another smart maiden field again on Sunday, his previous two battles should have him primed and ready for another big performance.
“He is going terrific, really, and it has taken two very smart horses by the look of them to beat him,” Stratford said.
“So, he deserves a turn and hopefully it is Sunday.”
Barrier 5 isn’t the perfect draw for the four-year-old, with smart trialist With A Bang to his inner in barrier 2.
But with Blair Orange in the sulky and considering the merit in his last two starts, Stratford labelled Unsurpassable as the best hope of the four horses he starts on Sunday.
“I would be surprised if he got beaten on Sunday.”
Stratford starts Midnitetraintogeorga who has also taken on smart types leading into race 7.
The filly ran fourth in a graduation final last week and has the benefit of that run under her belt going into Sunday’s meeting.
“I was really pleased with her, she hadn’t had a run for about two months.”
“Without a workout or anything, it looked liked she was going to run second halfway down the lane, but she just peaked the last little bit.”
“So, any improvement out of that, it sort of appears she has come on, and I think she’s a definite chance.”
Midnitetraintogeorga opened at a $3.60 fixed odds win price with Unsurpassable opening at $3.50 odds.
Stratford also starts both Calypso Rock and Beauty Barry in race 9.
Matthew Williamson is a driver to follow given his strong book of drives on Tuapeka Cup Day.
The reinsman has been tasked with helping Robyns Playboy win a third-straight Tuapeka Cup after picking up the sought-after drive on the horse known as ‘The Beast From The East’ with regular reinsman Craig Ferguson committed to his own runner in Chuckles.
“The way he has been going in the lead-up races to the (New Zealand) Cup it is a great time to be getting on him,” Williamson said.
“It looks like a good race for him and you’d like to think he is looking like the horse to beat.”
The Ross and Chris Wilson trained pacer opened at $1.50 odds in fixed odds win betting for the 2700m feature.
Winnie McGoogan will also start at short odds for Williamson in race 2.
The trainer-drive is hoping his two-year-old can begin sensibly in her first standing start, as she has done in her recent trials.
“Her manners are pretty good, I generally let her come out pretty slowly at the trials.”
“More for education than her having issues that way.”
Winnie McGoogan opened at a $1.60 fixed odds win quote.