Team Telfer - "we will lead"
By Michael Guerin
Team Telfer are approaching a Group 1 double at Addington with the same attitude that is winning them the New Zealand trainers' premiership.
So expect take-no-prisoners tactics from their drivers in both the Airpark Canterbury $200,000 New Zealand Pacing Free-For-All and the Dunstan Horsefeeds $150,000 Sires’ Stakes Fillies Final at Addington on Friday.
The brother and sister team of Steve and Amanda Telfer may be just seven weeks away from winning the trainers' premiership for the first time, with a seven-win margin over the Dunns and the All Stars stables.
There are many layers to their success, from huge investment in horses and staff, outstanding training facilities and a dual-island operation but they have also empowered their young drivers to be aggressive when the occasion suits, winning plenty of races by leading.
The draws for the two Group 1s give them the opportunity to try that again and Steve Telfer says that is their plan.
Alta Wiseguy has the ace draw in the Free-For-All, which features many of the NZ Cup horses and from the stable point of view that has the bonus of stablemate B D Joe being drawn on his back, so they can attempt to have the leader and trailer in the race.
“I think we have to use the draw,” says Telfer.
“He (Alta Wiseguy) is very fast out and over a sprint trip I don’t see the point in handing up, that is not really how we like to do things.
“If we hand the lead to a horse like Rock N Roll Doo then I don’t think we can beat him and even if he sits parked maybe he can still beat us.
“But to give both of ours their best chance of winning I think we have to lead.”
Gate speed and who leads in any race is far from an exact science and a flyer like Spankem could make things interesting early but if Alta Wiseguy can hold the lead it does make life just a little harder for Rock N Roll Doo.
The big Aussie was able to sit parked and win a Victoria Cup a month ago so maybe he can do the same today but the prospect of him having that sort of run makes it that much harder to take his $2.80 odds.
The NZ Free-For-All sits alongside the Taylor Mile as the most important of our open class races to lead or trial in so the early rush will be crucial to the outcome and if (there is that word again) B D Joe trails he becomes the value in the race.
But if there are early fireworks then the mid-race movers or even the swoopers could get their chance led by Self Assured and Majestic Cruiser, both of who were very good in the New Zealand Cup.
Team Telfer also get the ace draw to aid Kahlua Flybye in the Juvenile Fillies’ Group 1 with the added advantage of the unbeaten Millwood Nike being on the second line.
The decision on whether they try and hold the lead with Kahlua Flybye is made a little more complicated by the fact Advance Party, the other standout filly in the race, is drawn one on the second line and could potentially get that trail, making her another real threat.
“Tim (Williams, driver) and I had a talk about it and we both think she is good enough to lead and win,” said Telfer matter-of-factly.
“And to be honest, even though she is very fast off a trail, there isn’t an obvious horse off the front line to trail so we have made our decision and she will be trying to lead all the way.
“We couldn’t be happier with our filly and if Millwood Nike is good enough to come around the field and beat us then she is simply too good.
“We realise that if we lead then Advance Party could trail and be really hard to hold out but you have got to have faith in your horses so that is what we will do.”
The stable also has warm favourite Darling Me, as well as Cloudy Bay and Show Me Heaven, in the $40,000 Bob McArdle Mares’ Classic and the best version would go very close to winning with Manhattan the main danger after she led all the way to beat Darling Me last start.