Racing: Busuttin confident but....

By Mike Dillon

Everything has gone to plan for Auckland Cup favourite Sangster - it's just the 3200m.

Avondale Cup winner Sangster is favoured to win the Auckland Cup at Ellerslie today. Photo / Natalie Slade
Avondale Cup winner Sangster is favoured to win the Auckland Cup at Ellerslie today. Photo / Natalie Slade

There has never been a weight special to topple Sangster in today's $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup at Ellerslie.

But there was still a niggle in the back of Trent Busuttin's grey matter when he woke up yesterday - and it was one of racing's truisms.

You never know if a horse can successfully manage 3200m at the top level until they try it.

Sangster hasn't.

Busuttin is very confident Sangster will manage racing's extreme distance, but the graveyard is full of trainers who have felt the same way, only to be proved wrong.

There are few races beyond 2400m and when horses get to 3200m they are in uncharted waters.

There have been horses who could manage 3000m, but not 3200m.

"I'm pretty confident he can manage it," says Busuttin.

"The draw helps [No 2], the jockey helps [Opie Bosson] and he should get an economical trip from his inside barrier."

The performance for a runaway win in the Avondale Cup makes for a magical chance today.

Under 59kg Sangster raced away and made the opposition look ordinary. This time he carries just 54.5kg. Over 3200m that difference is monumental.

Yes, the opposition this time is significantly better, but it's not insurmountably better.

The inside barrier is a massive help in allowing Sangster an economical mid-race trip.

The maiden status at 3200m makes the trainer think a bit more than usual.

"You've got 3200m winners in there: My Scotsgrey and Blood Brotha."

Annie Higgins is all class.

She has experienced rotten luck in at least half of her most recent top-grade races and has done well, including her close second to Blood Brotha in the Wellington Cup two starts back.

The 2000m at Matamata last start was too short, but she did well for sixth.

Trainer Lance Noble is confident Annie Higgins will settle well in running after she gets buried along the running rail from the No 5 barrier.

Ace Victorian jockey Craig Williams has the job aboard luckless Chaparrone, who, with just 52kg, looks well placed.

Her luck has been absent lately and all she needs to poke her nose into the finish is good fortune to follow her effort.

My Scotsgrey is going to relish the step up to 3200m. He has had one crack at 3200m for victory in the 2009 New Zealand Cup at Riccarton.

His last run in the Avondale Cup is best forgotten as he was trapped wide for much of the race.

James McDonald is sure to give him an economical run and he looks a sound place bet and a must for trifectas and First4s.

Blood Brotha, winner of the last Wellington Cup, likes 3200m as his two New Zealand Cup wins in 2011 and last season attest.

He ran sixth behind Shez Sinsational and Spiro in last year's Auckland Cup.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 20 Sep 2014 16:13:50 Processing Time: 609ms