All eyes on Wairio Cup start
By Jonny Turner
The first few metres of the Wairio Cup on Saturday are set to be as important as its final few strides for Watch Me Now and Ragazzo Mach.
Their talents can not be questioned, but their experience behind the tapes certainly can ahead of the 2400m feature handicap.
Watch Me Now returns to racing for the first time since serving her rivals up a thrashing in the South Of The Waitaki event on Show Day at Addington.
Prior to that, the Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis trained four-year-old galloped away for a few strides in her only standing start attempt at Methven in a capacity field, three starts ago.
The classy four-year-old will face a much different proposition when she starts by herself on the 20m mark on Saturday.
And that has Barclay hopeful her mare can make a good getaway.
And if she does, Watch Me Now has to be incredibly hard to beat.
“There was no stand at the workouts last weekend, but I am confident she can get it together,” Barclay said.
“She had got plenty of room to move around with being off 20m.”
“She has got to learn to step really because apart from some of the nice mares races she is going to be in standing starts from now on.”
Watch Me Now wasn’t pressured when running second to her stablemate and Wairio Cup rival Love On The Rocks in her Wyndham workout.
The four-year-old enjoyed a short break after her jaw-dropping Show Day win and is clearly on the way back up to peak fitness going into Saturday’s race.
However, she appears forward enough to give her rivals a big fright.
“She had ten days off after Show Day and she had a quiet workout last weekend,” Barclay said.
“Her work up the beach has been good.”
“She is good enough to win if she did things right.”
“I think she is one of those horses that a good hard run will help her.”
“It was a nice run at the workouts without pushing her.”
“But she will be better after having a race.”
Ragazzo Mach comes into the Wairio Cup with even less standing start experience than Watch Me Now.
The Nathan Williamson trained three-year-old has never been behind the tapes in a race, trial or workout.
But with plenty of practice at home, the emerging pacer is expected to be sensible in his first attempt on Saturday.
“I like to teach them to go away at home, he has had quite a bit of practice at that,” Williamson said.
“Not with a barrier strand, but he will stand and pace away.”
“He seems good at home but race day is different.”
Love On The Rocks is another standing start rookie going into his first attempt behind the tapes.
The four-year-old looked sharp beating Watch Me Now at the Wyndham workouts in his first public appearance since breaking in the South Of The Waitaki event.
“He seems really good and his work has been good this week,” Barclay said.
“The stand is a major query for him, that is why we have put him out to the unruly because he can really be a bit of a bugger.”
The standing start novices in Saturday’s feature clash with two excellent beginners in Robyns Playboy and Memphis Tennessee.
Robyns Playboy will start from the 40m back mark in his first public appearance since starting in Self Assured’s New Zealand Cup.
Memphis Tennessee starts from the front line after winning a Winton workout after running eighth on Show Day in his last start.