Thefixer might just win the Cup
MICHAEL GUERIN’S CUP PICKS
- Dream About Me
- Tiger Tara
At first glance Thefixer doesn’t look like a New Zealand Trotting Cup champion.
The horse who comes out on top in our greatest harness racing usually looks the part. Big, sleek, imposing or at least with an imposing record.
The Cup is the race of heroes, equine Hercules like Christian Cullen, Terror To Love and Lazarus or at the very least age group stars who have stamped themselves with class from their early days.
There is no shortage of those in today’s $800,000 Cup at Addington — Dream About Me, Jack’s Legend, Tiger Tara and even Locharburn are Derby or Jewels winners who were always going to get invited to the big dances later in life.
Cruz Bromac, A G’s White Socks, Star Galleria and Eamon Maguire and also serious group race winners with the speed or stamina of future Cup winners.
He isn’t imposing, pacing with his head slightly down, his neck stretched.
His bank balance is the fifth poorest in the Cup. The richest race he has ever won was only $40,000 and even that was a consolation Sales race for horses who had never won a group one.
He is, largely, unspectacular. The winner of just nine races.
But that might change today at Addington because there is more to Thefixer than first meets the eye.
He has been the find of the harness racing season who was hiding in plain sight.
While he has never been the big noise, dig deeper into his mere 15-start career and you find some prized scalps.
In his third ever start he beat subsequent Auckland Cup winner Vincent. At his latest outing 11 days ago he beat another Auckland Cup winner in Dream About Me.
In between he has unassumingly downed most of his key rivals today, many on numerous occasions.
The only major rival he has yet to beat is Aussie hard man Tiger Tara. Today he gets the perfect chance to change that.
Thefixer has the ace draw and the manners to use it. If he steps well he can work and then relax, handing up to the right rival, maybe even a stablemate.
If that happens — and standing starts can be lotteries — then he is the horse to beat.
The days of slow New Zealand Cup are gone and today’s 3200m will probably be paced between 3:53 and 3:57. Will that bother Thefixer, who has never raced over the ultimate distance?
“He will love it. He is one horse I am certain will handle a hard run 3200m,” says champion co-trainer Mark Purdon.
Purdon usually gets a Sunday morning feel for his Cup runners, when one of them puts their hoof up and says “hey boss, I’m flying.”
Thefixer is this year’s Sunday morning special.
“He has really come on since his last start win and is exactly where he needs to be. You could see that in Sunday’s work.
“It is hard to choose between him and Dream About Me as our best chance because they are both really well. But we couldn’t be happier with Thefixer.”
If Dream About Me can lead as her draw and manners suggest then Thefixer will need to be a proper horse to run her down but if he can hold his markers advantage he looks ever so slightly the better bet.
The danger, and most important horse in the race, is Tiger Tara and whether he launches a mid-race lead attack that softens the leaders up. But even then, Thefixer tucked away on the marker looks a beneficiary.
Both Tiger Tara and Dream About Me have the been-there, done-that record of serious horses so deserve respect and consideration.
They fit the mould. The New Zealand Cup winner mould.
And Cruz Bromac, Jack’s Legend and even the battling Star Galleria have that most beautiful of racing gifts, sheer speed, that suggests they could dazzle today.
Thefixer doesn’t fit the Cup winner mould. And he almost certainly won’t dazzle us.
He might just go out and win the New Zealand Cup.
CUP DAY WHAT YOU NEED TO NOW
What: New Zealand Trotting Cup day.
Where: Addington, Christchurch.
When: First race 12.05pm today.
Who: The elite harness horses in $800,000 NZ Cup, $170,000 Sires’ Stakes Final and $100,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All.
Watch: Trackside TV has live coverage from 11am.