The rivalry continues
By Michael Guerin
Tony Herlihy has been in this position enough times to know Lemond holds a big advantage over his stable star Temporale at Alexandra Park.
Because while the group one-winning pair may be drawn alongside each other in the main trot, even the slight edge of Lemond having draw inside his arch rival should be enough to tip the sprint in his favour.
Lemond and Temporale have one of New Zealand’s racing most unheralded rivalries, having bumped heads since their three-year-old days three seasons ago.
They are so evenly matched after 18 clashes the score is nine-all, with the pair having quinealled five races so it doesn’t take much to tip the scale one way or the other.
Temporale’s trainer Tony Herlihy admits in race four tonight it could be Lemond who holds the aces.
The pair last met two weeks ago in the Dominion at Addington in which Lemond was a brave third and Temporale a battling ninth, with Herlihy disappointed in his big trotter even though he went into the race after a slight setback.
But more importantly tonight is the fact Lemond has that slight draw advantage in a race where whoever can stay in front of the other looks set to dominate.
“I know it might not seem like much but that gives him the advantage this week,” says Herlihy.
“If we both trot off the gate safely then he might be able to get a better run so I think I’d favour him over my horse just slightly this week.”Add in promising up and comers in Massive Metro and Hey Yo and the trot looks the best race on a night which also features New Zealand’s first tote Monte trot.
While Herlihy, our most successful ever driver, won’t be saddling up for the Monte he likes the point of difference they provide and will be an interested spectator.
“I’ve got nothing bad to say about them, I’ve seen them in Victoria and it is good to have something different.”
Away from Temporale his focus will be on trying to continue his strong start to the summer which sees him in a four-way tie as the leading North Island trainer, with 10 wins for the season so far.
He expects to start the night well with Forget The Price Tag, a smart three-year-old trotter last season who looks headed further than most of his rivals in race one.
He has been solid rather than spectacular at recent workouts but if he trots all the way he should win.
Herlihy rates Mr Yips in race five as his best chance of the night.
He looked talented against handy opponents last season, has matured and is trialing well so looks an anchor in the $40,000 turbo Pick6 spread between Alexandra Park and some good races at Addington.