Racing: Jones to answer punters' Pick6 dreams

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

Butcher Mark Jones has seen one benefit from the Canterbury snowstorms this week - they will enable him to drive most punters' anchor in tonight's $250,000 Pick6 at Addington.

The huge terminating jackpot will lure punters into what is a potentially tricky meeting, with big fields after Tuesday's Addington meeting was abandoned because of snow.

Jones says his track has been covered in snow and has made working horses difficult, forcing him to scratch the likes of Babes Boy Bob from the last race tonight.

But that snow cloud has a silver lining as it frees Jones to partner Dream Out Loud, who many will see as a Pick6 anchor in race 12.

The unbeaten 3-year-old has looked all class in three starts and has the draw to dominate the final harness race of the season.

"I drove him last start and really liked him because he is deceptively quick for a big horse," said Jones.

"He will have gate speed and I'd like to see him in front because I think he would be too good from there. He feels like a horse who will go through to the better intermediate grades."

Jones is just as confident with his stable charge Unique Chance in race 11, where the juvenile has drawn the ace against mainly older rivals.

"He has always had ability and he cost us a fair bit at the Ready To Run sales. He is still six months away, really, but he was second to a good horse from a tough draw last week and he has to be the one to beat."

Jones points to Maori Invasion in race 10 as another Pick6 must-have and potential anchor after his awesome last-start win.

Maori Invasion is highly rated by champion trotting trainer Phil Williamson and his last-start win was penalty-free. He looks headed for open class but trotting races being what they are punters could be wise to save on former hype horse Tozzie.

He was a brave third when resuming last start and has a huge motor so can't be ignored.

Jones has Tiz Tough drawn well in the first leg of Pick6 but that should be dominated by Big Picture and Absolute Classic, both of whom have had their share of bad luck recently.

However, races eight and nine look anything but easy and punters should go wide because they are the most likely races to add genuine value to the final Pick6 dividend.

Meanwhile, in Auckland, Zac Butcher will take a slight numerical advantage into the final night of the Streamline Freight Alexandra Park junior drivers' premiership tonight.

Butcher, Mitchell Kerr and Josh Dickie have all driven 16 winners for the season at Alexandra Park, with Kerr in front on strike rate.

But the race for the Herlihy-McKendry trophy for the leading junior at our main track might have Butcher as the narrow favourite as he has four winning chances at tonight's meeting to Kerr's three.

His best hope rests with super-improved claimer Jonny Wilkinson in the King Of The Claimers event, in which Kerr will partner major danger and stablemate Speedstar.

However, on recent performances, Jonny Wilkinson deserves favouritism and victory with him could give Butcher the track junior premiership.

The pair go head to head on two favourites in race seven as well, Butcher driving Westwind Gamble, who has the better of the draws, and Kerr on the likely favourite Gangala.

Earlier, Butcher has small chances with Captain Hornblower and Glengarry Lass, while Kerr has an each-way hope with Merv (race six).

The Alexandra Park open drivers' premiership has been dominated by Tony Herlihy, with a staggering 65 of his 87 nationwide wins this season coming on the Auckland track.

The Purdon-Payne stable will win the trainer's premiership with 45 wins, a number which Lisharry could add to in race five tonight.

- NZ Herald

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