Tricky draw for Aldebaran Zeus in National Trot

By Michael Guerin

Ex-pat trainer Brent Lilley was thrilled with Aldebaran Zeus’s draw for Friday night’s $90,000 Peter Breckon Memorial National Trot, until he saw who had drawn inside his star trotter.

Aldebaran Zeus will start from barrier two over the 2700m mobile and would normally be expected to blast straight to the lead but drawn directly to his inside is hot favourite Muscle Mountain, a rare Kiwi open class trotter with gate speed similar to a top Australian trotter.

Lilley is still confident Aldebaran Zeus will have the speed to cross to the lead and be master of own destiny in the Group 1 at Alexandra Park on Friday night but realises it will be harder to cross the best horse in the race than it would have been plenty of other rivals who could have drawn there.

"He can really leave the gate when Chris gets him going and I think we have a good chance of crossing him (Muscle Mountain),” says Lilley.

“If he does that Chris (Alford, driver) will have options but if they burn early and he can’t get across there is also the possibility a gap will open up behind Muscle Mountain.

“So there is a good chance he should be able to get to the marker pegs.”

After an impressive fresh-up win in New Zealand at Cambridge, Aldebaran Zeus was allowed to settle back from a wide draw in the Lyell Creek Stakes last Friday and never really got into the race as Muscle Mountain led and won.

Lilley says while Aldebaran’s Zeus’s best form has been over sprint trips he thinks the son of Muscle Hill can be very competitive over 2700m but whether that means trying to lead all the way, if he can even get there, he will leave up to Alford.

“I think he will be fine with the 2700m and he didn’t have a hard run last week but being on the marker pegs would help.”

Aldebaran Zeus opened second favourite but still $9 with the TAB as Muscle Mountain was opened a $1.25 favourite, with Oscar Bonavena on the third line of betting at $11.

The National Trot is earlier than usual in the night as Race 5 while even more rare is the fact the $90,000 Dawson Harford Messenger is Race 4.

The great race has drawn a small field of seven and while Copy That, Self Assured and Better Eclipse are there last week’s Taylor Mile winner Akuta is not while The Race by Grins runner-up Old Town Road is also missing as well as Nicholas Cage, Triple Eight and the now spelling B D Joe.

Copy That drawing inside Self Assured has seen him open the $1.80 favourite to Self Assured's $2.50 with Better Eclipse, who was huge in the Taylor Mile last Friday at $5.

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