Racing: Auckland Cup draws top field

By Michael Guerin

Monkey King's magical season looks set to end on a high after the super pacer drew perfectly for Friday's $500,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup.

The multi-millionaire will start from barrier three and was last night quoted as a $2.20 chance by the TAB, although he could start even shorter on the night.

After having shown gate speed during the Interdominions, which finished in Sydney last night, Monkey King should now be able to take advantage of the draw and add to his wonderful big race record at Alexandra Park, where he has already won a Great Northern Derby, Messenger and City Of Auckland Free-For-All.

Auckland Trotting Club officials were left beaming by the strength of the cup field which, coming just five days after the Interdominion, could have been savaged by the Australian series.

Instead, the $500,000 event has drawn one of the strongest possible fields, with the bonus of attracting in-form Australian pacer Washakie.

He faces a second-line draw, as does Victoria Cup winner Bettor's Strike and star 4-year-olds Tintin In America and Highview Tommy.

ATC officials thought long and hard before declaring Georgetown first emergency ahead of Raglan, although both still have a chance of starting with the possibility any of the six cup acceptors who lined up at the Inters last night could pull out depending on how they travel home.

Monkey King's odds in the cup look set to be mirrored by Russley Rascal in the $500,000 Woodlands Derby.

The most impressive of the two heat winners on Friday night has drawn ideally at barrier four in the classic.

Friday's other heat winner, Four Starzzz Flash, has drawn the outside of the front line while Victoria Derby quinellamates Courage To Rule and Sir Lincoln have drawn the outside two draws on the second line.

Sir Lincoln missed Friday night's heat after developing a temperature on the morning of the race and his trainer, Ray Green, will wait until he works the colt this morning before deciding whether to start on Friday.

Trainer Mark Purdon sprang a surprise by accepting an invitation to start Friday night's Pascoes Northern Oaks winner Secret Potion in the Derby.

The fields for the two features at Alexandra Park on Friday night are:

$500,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup, mobile, 2700m - Raglan (1), Ohoka Dallas (2), Big Dog (3), Monkey King (4), Bondy (5), Changeover (6), Georgetown (7), Baileys Dream (8), Tintin In America (9), Awesome Armbro (10), Power Of Tara (11), Highview Tommy (12), Pembrook Benny (13), Washakie (14), Bettor's Strike (15). Emergencies: Georgetown, Raglan.

$500,000 Northern Derby, mobile, 2700m - Kynuna Boo (1), Devil Dodger (2), Gomeo Romeo (3), Russley Rascal (4), Anvils Best Ever (5), Secret Potion (6), Eridanus (7), Four Starzzz Flash (8), Franco Hendrix (9), Feels Like Magic (10), Hip Hop Anvil (11), Five Star Anvil (12), Sir Lincoln (13), Courage To Rule (14). Choise Achiever (15). Emergencies: Franco Hendrix, Choise Achiever.

- NZ Herald

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