The best he has driven
It was only a four-horse workout on a quiet Pukekohe morning but it confirmed what astute reinsman Todd Mitchell had been thinking for a while.
That Massive Metro, who heads to Alexandra Park tonight, is the best trotter he has driven.
And that should be good enough for punters to jump on the National Trot winner at Alexandra Park tonight.
Massive Metro has taken every step asked of him by trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett this season, downing Marcoola at group one level and winning brilliantly off a handicap last start.
He warmed up for tonight winning at the Pukekohe workouts last Saturday and Mitchell, a four-time New Zealand Cup winner, was beaming after his performance.
“We were back in the field and following Temporale when he stopped (atrial fibrillation) and my horse felt flat,” explains Mitchell.
“But when I pulled the plugs he just flew and bolted in.
“Every time I have driven him this season he has got better and I think he is better this campaign too.
“He has real speed and can stay as we saw in the National Trot.
“I’ve always thought Prime Power was the best trotter I have driven regularly but I think this fella has a more all round game so now I’d have to say he is.”
While Massive Metro was sling-shotted by sprint king Lemond two starts ago Mitchell isn’t worried about that a repeat of that at tonight’s all-mile meeting.
“He really doesn’t kick into gear until you pulls the plugs and I couldn’t find the cord that night. So it was mostly my fault.”
With a few question marks hanging over some of the battle-weary open class crop it wouldn’t surprise to see Massive Metro win tonight and then go on to capture either the Anzac Cup (April 26) or Rowe Cup (May 3). Or even both.
Still, Lemond’s record over sprint distances has been so consistently good his entire career he deserves plenty of respect, especially if he is able to track the favourite into the race.
Tonight’s pacing feature should see On The Cards finally get back into the winner’s circle after a frustrating string of placings in good fields.
He looked home after a beautiful Zachary Butcher drive last Friday only to be grabbed late by Triple Eight, who is a rival again tonight.
The difference is tonight Triple Eight faces a second line draw whereas On The Cards comes in incredibly well, being a rating 87 horse but with the best draw of the favourites and if he leads, which looks likely, he should win.
One of the more interesting newcomers tonight is New South Wales filly Lulu Le Mans, who contests a handy Sires’ Stakes fillies’ heat.
She is a member of the NSW branch of the Mark Jones stable, which is run in partnership with Aaron Goadsby and while she meets some smart local fillies from barrier two she will be hard to beat as she starts down a path that could lead toward to the Jewels.
All-mile meetings at The Park can be tricky for punters as the natural inclination is to back only those drawn to lead but the last all-mile night saw horses able to come from all sorts of draws to win, especially down in the grade where the progressive horses are often simply too good for the journeymen.