The Devils Own resumes
By Michael Guerin
Don’t feel too miffed if you can’t really remember the best horse racing at Alexandra Park tonight.
Because good horses don’t come much more forgotten than The Devils Own, who resumes in the $30,000 Smith And Partners Winter Cup.
It wasn’t always that way though.
Two years ago he was being touted as the next big thing in pacing, a very good juvenile who looked certain to be better at three.
He paced a stunning 1:52.4 mile rate for 1950m winning the Sales Series Pace at Addington, beating Spankem and Alta Maestro but that May 2017 win was his last visit to the winner’s circle.
That three-year-old season that promised so much saw the emergence of a better horse in Chase Auckland who dominated at home. Then The Devils Own finished third in a Victoria Derby but returned home soon after with hock and other soundness issues.
His owners have given him plenty of time, well over a year away from the track, and transferred him from the All Stars to new trainer Brent Mangos to take advantage of Auckland stakes like the $30,000 tonight.
And Mangos likes what the big horse has shown him.
“He feels a like a good horse should,” he offers.
“You can tell he has been a good horse in the past and the owners looked after him giving him all the time off so his legs have been great, no issues.”
The Devils Own was given two quiet workouts by Mangos to start this campaign but it is his latest public outing that gave the Pukekohe trainer the most confidence The Devil Own can win fresh-up tonight.
“I took him to Cambridge two weeks ago and it wasn’t so much a proper workout as him working with a galloping pacemaker,” explains Mangos.
“But he did it very well. He paced his last 800m in 56.2 seconds, his final 400m in 27 around Cambridge and I think it has really brought him on.
“We actually gave him a start from behind the tapes that day and while it spooked him a bit I think the small field will help him handle the stand this week.
“He is a lovely big relaxed horse so the stand doesn’t worry me too much.”
With the scratching of the in-form Check In and the fact key front line rival Blazen River is also fresh-up tonight, The Devils Own may well be able to get away his lack of race fitness tonight.
Like the Winter Cup the main trot tonight is a small but interesting field but if Kenny’s Dream brings the same form she did last start she could make it four wins from five Alexandra Park starts.
She arrived north in the care of Phil Williamson hardly rated a star but has been a huge improver and bolted in last start but she does meet a rival of similar talent in Credit Master tonight, although she has a head start and more consistent manners over him.