Youngsters coming out to play at Alexandra Park
By Michael Guerin
The second wave of Steve Telfer’s juvenile army launch their assault on Alexandra Park tonight and the premiership trainer says strength could end up being the deciding factor.
Telfer is the head of New Zealand harness racing’s biggest stable, training in partnership with his sister Amanda and Hayden Cullen, and after dominating the domestic sales market in recent years he decided to flex some of that equine muscle last week.
The stable produced the trifecta in last Thursday’s juvenile race, with Rock Band the first of their five reps home while they will have four of the seven starters in tonight’s freshman race on all-mile night at The Park.
It is almost unheard of for any stable in either code to line up nine debutante two-year-olds in seven days but Telfer has more to come, with up to 20 juveniles in training.
“We have some lovely horses in work at the moment but what we are finding is around about this stage of the season the colts starts to catch up to and often pass the fillies,” says Telfer.
“Early in the season we find the fillies run quicker times because they often mature faster but as the boys start to come to it they get stronger and often that is telling, they end up too strong for the fillies.”
Unlike thoroughbred racing the male and female pacing juveniles rarely clash at the highest level and while in tonight’s race the fillies get the better barrier draws, harness racing’s girls don’t get anything like the 2kg handicap advantage the female gallopers often get over the males.
“With the boys getting stronger I think a colt called Twista (R5, No.4) can win this week,” explains Telfer.
“He is coming to it (maturing) at the time and while he hasn’t shown the speed of the fillies yet he might be stronger and he is by Bettor's Delight, and they tend to improve when they go to the races.”
All-mile nights at Alexandra Park can prove tricky for punters as while they were always presumed to be set up for front runners and those drawn well that hasn’t always been the case.
They have often inspired more aggressive tactics from drivers so punters shouldn’t be fooled into thinking all tonight’s mobile sprints will be lead-and-win affairs.