Racing: Gath ponders perfect draw

By Michael Guerin

Provided he blasts away from tapes visitor should enjoy top run in NZ Cup.

Terror to Love shows his fitness by easily winning the Cup Trial at Addington yesterday. Photo / Martin Hunter
Terror to Love shows his fitness by easily winning the Cup Trial at Addington yesterday. Photo / Martin Hunter

Trainer Andy Gath has got the draw he wanted for Caribbean Blaster in Tuesday's New Zealand Trotting Cup.

But he is still not sure that barrier one is ideal.

Caribbean Blaster has actually drawn barrier two in Addington's great race but with Zenola Seelster 1000-1 to get a start, the sole Australian-trained pacer in the race will almost certainly start from the ace.

With hot favourite Terror To Love drawn alongside at barrier two, Caribbean Blaster's marble could be ideal as, in a perfect world, he would step well and trail the defending champion.

"And to be honest, if I had been given the option of any draw in the race I would have chosen barrier one," said Gath.

"The reason is I think to win the race we need to be down on the markers following the speed and from barrier one that is almost certainly where we will be.

"If everything went perfectly at the start and we trailed Terror To Love then the draw is ideal, or even if we were three back on the markers.

"The problems would start if we were slow and ended up four back on the markers.

"So yes, I got the draw I wanted, but now the horse has to make the most of it."

Gath says Caribbean Blaster has been good from a stand in his three attempts so far without being brilliant.

His only defeat in a standing start came last time out when he was outstayed by Bitobliss after leading in the Kilmore Cup.

Gath is gracious enough not to make excuses for that defeat but is adamant Caribbean Blaster will be better for that outing.

"We were beaten by a better horse on the day but my fella wasn't really screwed down for that because I had been a little bit kind to him.

"But next Tuesday is our grand final and he will be ready."

Gath left his Victorian base at 6pm last night and was to transport Caribbean Blaster for six hours into New South Wales before giving him a break overnight.

"Then he has about four more hours' to Darren Hancock's stables, where he will stay for around seven hours before he goes to the plane.

"So we should get to Christchurch around 5am on Friday." With his horse in near perfect shape, the Victorian horseman says he can't wait for the big day.

"I have been to New Zealand Cup Day before and it has always made me a bit jealous, that we don't have something like that in Australia.

"So to be going there with a horse good enough for the Cup is special.

"I'll get into the spirit of it and I am sure like all the other trainers I will have butterflies before the race.

"But we have a horse who deserves a shot at it."

Caribbean Blaster has ranged between $8 and $16 in the NZ Cup fixed odds markets over the past eight weeks but has settled around $10, on the fourth line of betting after his draw.

The greatest discrepancy in the markets Australasia-wide has been the prices for the hot favourite.

Terror To Love was rated a $2.40 chance with the New Zealand TAB last night but was as short as $1.85 with the Australian TAB, a remarkable difference in betting percentages.

He easily overcame being slow early to win last night's Cup trial at Addington, although neither he nor his rivals were pushed out to the line.

While Terror To Love and Caribbean Blaster have drawn well in the Cup, champion trotter I Can Doosit faces barrier nine in the Trotting Free-For-All.

Franco Nelson will start favourite in the $180,000 Sires' Stakes Final after drawing barrier three, with Five Card Draw three horses wider on the front line.

- NZ Herald

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