Sundees Son going for three in a row in ANZAC Cup

By Michael Guerin

Fields of just six horses have been confirmed for the two features - the ANZAC Cup and the Roy Purdon Memorial - at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

Champion trotter Sundees Son will go for a hat-trick of wins in the Group 1 H R Fisken and Sons Anzac Cup after winning in 2019 and 2021.

He has drawn three for the 2200m mobile, two places inside Bolt For Brilliance. Matua Tana is between them, with Midnight Dash, Kimkar Dash and Yuri making up the field.

The twin talents of Sundees Son and to a slightly lesser extent Bolt For Brilliance would have scared a few contenders off with the other reason for the low numbers being the fact that the punishing 3200m Rowe Cup is on Friday week.

Every open class trot they contested this year has been won by one of Sundees Son, Bolt For Brilliance or in the case of last Thursday’s Flying Mile at Cambridge, Muscle Mountain.

That giant, light-framed trotter has returned home to Canterbury to spell as trainer Greg Hopes thinks he has had enough for this campaign and he isn’t the only one, with the record speeds our open class trots are being held at taking their toll on many in the crop.

That is why last season’s champion three-year-old Five Wise Men isn’t starting in the Anzac Cup this week, being kept mentally fresh for the Rowe Cup as he negotiates the open tricky transition from age group trotting to open class.

The dominance of Sundees Son and Bolt For Brilliance would also deter South Island trainers who might usually have a throw at the stumps over the Rowe Cup carnival from making the trip north.

Still, with horses like Temporale, Five Wise Men and potentially a few others being saved for next week, the Rowe Cup should attract 8-10 starters.

Alexandra Park bosses realise it is getting late in a very busy autumn and trainers can’t start their horses everywhere so are not surprised in the first running of the $75,000 Roy Purdon Memorial, this Friday’s feature pace, has only attracted six starters.

Some are being allowed to miss the race to concentrate on next week’s $400,000 Auckland Cup but the open class pacers have been very busy, with the first four home in last Thursday’s Flying Mile at Cambridge not backing up this Friday.

While the enormously-revised autumn racing calendar has provided some great racing the most obvious adjustment is to move both the Pacing and Trotting Flying Miles from their date last week to a week before The Race at Cambridge in mid April, which looks likely to be joined by a trotting slot race next season.

That would create natural Cambridge lead-ups to the two slot races plus provide a three week break in May to allow horses to campaign at both the Taylor Mile-Messenger carnival and the two back to back meetings starting this Friday.

Self Assured will start off 20 metres and will be joined in the Listed race by All Stars stable-mates Bettor Twist and Mach Dan, with South Coast Arden, Kango and Bad To The Bone rounding out the field.

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