Sweet Mary on song for Addington
By Jonny Turner
The waiting is over at Addington on Friday night for punters who jotted down Sweet Mary’s name in their black-books following her impressive effort at the New Zealand Cup Carnival.
Trainer Brad Mowbray has had the 5yr-old one ice since she scorched down the Addington track to run an eye-catching third to Wainui Creek in the Sires Stakes Southern Mares Classic.
Sweet Mary was buried deep on the inner with no racing room, then was relegated to a clear last after the field turned for home, before she produced a booming finish to just be nosed out of second by Change Is Good.
Mowbray was naturally delighted with the effort, but was also left wondering what might have been if his mare had been able to get in the clear sooner.
“If she was a spot or two closer, she would have given Wainui Creek a shake,” the trainer said.
“And if she had come out a bit cleaner, that would have helped, because she just wanted to run down the track a bit.”
“We would have loved to get first or second, but we were really happy with the way she went.”
It will be one day short of a month since Sweet Mary produced her fast finishing effort when she again clashes with Change Is Good in a 1980m mares feature on Friday night.
The gap between races has not been a case of Mowbray needing to freshen his pacer following her cup carnival tilt.
The trainer has been waiting patiently for a suitable race for Sweet Mary and he thinks he has found the perfect fit.
“We just look for the right races for her and this race suits her right down to the ground.”
Mowbray has kept Sweet Mary’s fitness levels up by giving her a trial at Rangiora last week.
Driver Matthew Williamson did not ask the mare for a serious effort, just letting her sprint home from last in the straight.
“I gave her a quiet trial last week, just to keep her ticking over, so she should be where she needs to be for this race,” Mowbray said.
Change Is Good followed up her second to Wainui Creek by winning the Timaru Cup when leading all of the way for trainer Mitchell Kerr and driver Matt Anderson.
The 5yr-old has had Sweet Mary’s measure in their last two meetings after the pair finished first and second at Ashburton Flying Stakes day.
Sweet Mary (7) has a slight draw advantage, starting one spot inside Change Is Good (8) on Friday night.
Cheezel (2) looks the best of the runners drawn handily under the preferential barrier draw.
The Regan Todd trained pacer reeled of a stunning 25.8sec last 400m when running second to Franco Niven at Addington last weekend.
Kendra (6) looks the main threat to Sweet Mary and Change Is Good.
The Greg and Nina Hope trained 4yr-old looked set to let down with a good finished when she was wiped out by the galloping Jazzy Star of the Pacers’ Green Mile at Methven last weekend.
Jazzy Star will attempt to get back to the kind of brilliant form he was in before his mishap in Friday night’s feature 1980m pace for entires and geldings.
The Brent White trained 5yr-old clashes with Green Mile fourth placegetter, Smokin By, and Mongolian Cavalry, who won the trial Sweet Mary competed in at Rangiora.
Memphis Tennessee also starts in the race after producing a brilliant 25.9sec last 400m to run third behind Franco Niven and Cheezel at Addington last weekend.
Trainer-driver Terry Chmiel said he expected further improvement from the 4yr-old after his good fresh up effort.
“He is still on the way up and he should improve a bit more with this race.”
“If things go to plan we will look at the Ashburton Cup and then maybe going down to Omakau for the cup down there.”