The Grand Prix - It's on!
by Michael Guerin
With today being one of the biggest race days of the year Michael Guerin provides his best five bets, and why.
1: Muscle Mountain (R8, No.1): Only one of trotting’s big three turns up for this Group 1 and he should lead and win. The last time Muscle Mountain was in a sprint field of similar quality (no Sundees Son or Bolt For Brilliance) he cruised away with the Flying Trot at Ashburton in October.Go back further in the year and he led and won a Mile at Cambridge over Bolt For Brilliance in 1:55 and he was stunning at Ashburton in the then Flying Mile last year. He is the best sprinting trotter in the Southern Hemisphere and the only danger would seem to be IF Majestic Man crossed him at the start and even then he could re-take or sit in the trail. If he behaves, he wins.
2: Millwood Nike (R3, No.2): While she is unbeaten there have been times this season that Millwood Nike has looked vulnerable. Addington on Show Day, her latest start, wasn’t one of those times. She was incredibly dominant and is belying her large frame by looking to get better as the season goes on.The fact she has drawn inside the brave and fast Kahlua Flybye should mean your multi bet starts without too much fuss and in case you were wondering, trainer Mark Purdon says she is working great.
3: High Energy (R6, No.7): There has been something about this daughter of Father Patrick right from the first time she stepped on the track. She has been beautifully handled, not asked to do too much, and that paid dividends when she beat the best boys last start. She drops back to her own sex here and while it isn’t a walkover because Kiss And Run in particular looks a really talented filly, High Energy has the advantage of a front line draw. “She wasn’t the smoothest trotter early so we weren’t using her out of the gate but she is stronger now and I think we can go forward on her,” says Purdon.
If that is the case it will take a very good juvenile trotting filly to catch her.
4: True Fantasy (R9, No.1): The draw may have sealed the second Oaks win of the season for this girl.
She has always been class but looked to be under serious threat when Aardie’s Express emerged in September but with that exceptional filly sadly sidelined by injury, True Fantasy meets nothing that has proven it can consistently beat her. She was excellent on Cup Day and should hold the lead here in a race with question marks over the form or manners of most rivals. Lady Of The Light might be able to test her if she repeats her massive performance of last Friday but do you really want to back her giving the favourite a conservative five lengths start?
5: Spankem (R10, No.8): The grand old man of the pacing ranks isn’t the best horse in this race, that honour clearly lies with Self Assured, but after opening $6 fixed, Spankem is the better bet. He was solid in the NZ Cup, luckless in the Free-For-All and loves sprint racing. If, and it is a big if, he blasts forward to lead he will take a wicked amount of catching but he has been so solid lately if he settles in the running line he can still win so he has two strings to his bow. He might, as he has so often, have to settle for a placing but at each way odds he is worth an each way bet.
Betting information :
$50,000 Guaranteed Terminating Pick6 at Addington
$10,000 Guaranteed First4 on every race at Addington
Bonus back races :
12:15pm: Race 1: Harness Racing Unhinged Mobile Pace
12:50pm: Race 2: Group 1 Commodore Hotel Ace Of Clubs (2yo C & G) Mobile Trot
1:25pm: Race 3: Group 1 Avon City Ford Ace Of Diamonds (2yo Fillies) Mobile Pace
2:00pm: Race 4: Group 1 Pron8ure Probiotic New Zealand Trotting Derby (Mob Trot)
Gates open 11.30am
Hospitality opens at 11.45am
The first race goes at 12.15 and entry is a gold coin donation which will go to the Horse Ambulance Trust.
The country's leading trainers, Steve and Amanda Telfer are lending their support to the Horse Ambulance Trust. Every time one of their horses wins or places at Sunday's first ever Grand prix meeting at Addington they will donate $100 to the cause. The challenge has now gone out for other leading stables to follow suit.