Who wins? Cold Chisel or Chase A Dream?

By Michael Guerin

Harness racing’s hottest new rivalry started way before punters had even heard of pacers Cold Chisel and Chase A Dream.

The pair clash again in the $200,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million at Alexandra Park tonight, the richest race on the night headlined by the sales series horses and the ideal lead-in to Sunday’s Karaka yearling sales.

Cold Chisel won the two-year-old Harness Million at Addington last October but was outpointed by a sensational Chase A Dream in the Sires’ Stakes Final in November and their rivalry already resembles that of their year-older stablemates Merlin and Don’t Stop Dreaming.

But they have been competing for attention and dollars since well before they ever saw a sulky as quite remarkably our two best three-year-old pacers were auctioned two minutes apart two years ago.

Both went through the Christchurch sale with Cold Chisel Lot 398 and Chase A Dream the very next horse through as Lot 399.

Who won? Cold Chisel by a long way as he was purchased by Entain Australia boss Dean Shannon for $100,000 while Chase A Dream was passed in at $37,500 and breeder Brian West remains in his ownership with some partners.

That could be the result tonight too as Cold Chisel, whose name alone assures him of a legion of fans of Aussie rock, has drawn barrier one in their 2200m mobile clash whereas Chase A Dream will start from the outside of the front line.

Chase A Dream, after leading, narrowly managed to hold out Cold Chisel in their lead-up race last Friday and while both horses will improve it seems logical that with the advantage of the draw Cold Chisel is the better bet tonight.

“He has the gate speed to use the barrier but we will leave it up to Zac (Butcher, driver) as to whether he tries to lead throughout or not,” says co-trainer Barry Purdon.

“He has definitely improved with last week’s run. Scott (Phelan, co-trainer) drove him on Wednesday morning and couldn’t have been happier.”

The Purdon/Phelan combo have done a huge job to have five of the 13 starters tonight, especially as they don’t take home truckloads of yearlings from the sales.

“It is very satisfying to get that many horses to the stage they can compete in these races and I couldn’t split Better Knuckle Up (5) and Jeremiah (6) as our next best hopes.”

Chase A Dream’s Sires’ Stakes win coming from last is all the proof punters need that he can still win tonight but he is probably going to need mid-race pressure which doesn’t look apparent, or Cold Chisel to get crossed at the start, which also looks unlikely.

The Purdon/Phelan with Shannon owning combination have also drawn the ace in tonight’s other Harness Million race, the $150,000 Fillies’ Final, with Kiss but there is no thought from the camp of her leading.

“I think Coastal Babe will probably lead from barrier two and that would put her (Kiss) in the trail and that wouldn’t be a bad thing,” says Purdon.

“She should get her chance from there while our other filly Ultimate Racy Girl never goes a bad race so has to be a chance.”

The way Coastal Babe ran home well from a poor draw last week suggests if she leads it will take something special to beat her tonight.

Two of the best three-year-olds on show tonight aren’t actually in Harness Million races as Duchess Megxit (again for Purdon/Phelan) and We Walk By Faith meet in race 4.

“Duchess Megxit is a very, very good filly but was a homebred so she is resuming tonight to get ready for the Sires’ Stakes and then the Northern Oaks,” says Purdon.

“She can win but We Walk By Faith is also very good so that could come down to who has luck in the running.

Five for Friday :

1: Coastal Babe (R6, No.2): Likely to lead and not cop too much pressure so looks the best multi anchor, with her $1.75 opening quote unlikely to last.

2: Sunnys Sister (R5, No.11): Has been running on strongly last two starts and steps up to 2700m tonight from 2200m last week and composition of field suits better than Cambridge two weeks ago.

3: Self Assured (R8, No.6): Merlin beat him when leading last week but no Merlin tonight and while he on a 30m handicap only giving his main rival Mach Shard 10m. Adds interest to your multi.

4: Cold Chisel (R7, No.1): One of the top 2 here and gets the ace draw so won’t have to leave the markers. It will take something special to beat him.

5: All Cashed Up (R9, No.6): Infinitely unreliable but this suits perfectly, with small and weak field and his biggest danger Castana only getting a 10m start.

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