Racing: Tempo of NZ Cup concerns Herlihy

By Michael Guerin

Tony Herlihy. Photo / Christine Cornege
Tony Herlihy. Photo / Christine Cornege

Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy says the tempo of Tuesday's New Zealand Cup will be far more important to his winning chances than the second-line draw he faces with Gold Ace.

Herlihy and Gold Ace will start from handy on the second line in the great race which, although it doesn't sound ideal, could work in the pair's favour.

After two decades where Cup winners often came from on the speed, the past five Cups have been dominated by horses who were closer to last in the first half of the race.

So Herlihy is not letting the fact he has to give Gold Ace's arch-rival and Cup favourite Terror To Love a start worry him.

"The draw could work out well if they go hard early and there is a bit of pressure," he told the Herald.

"If that happens sitting back doing nothing will be a good place to be.

"Probably the one thing I wouldn't want to see is Terror To Love getting an easy lead and dictating but there tends to be a bit of pressure in the Cup these days."

Herlihy says that, more importantly, trainer Steven Reid is happy with Gold Ace after a worrying week following the Ashburton Flying Stakes, on October 22, when he stepped on a shoe.

"His run at Addington last Friday suggested he is fine now and I think he is going as good as any horse in the race outside of Terror To Love, who has to be the one to beat."

Before Herlihy heads to Christchurch to chase his fourth New Zealand Cup win, he has a handy book of drives at Alexandra Park tonight.

His best stable chance could be Galleons Warrior in the first race.

He was a solid third in a decent Manawatu maiden two starts ago before being checked early when fourth next time out.

While Manawatu form rarely shines at Alexandra Park, Galleons Warrior meets a provincial-class field and looks a good bet.

But Herlihy's best drive comes later in the night when he gets to wear the most feared colours in harness racing, those of his brother-in-law Mark Purdon.

He will partner Sir Tosti Mach in the penultimate leg of the $50,000 Pick6 and it is hard to see the 3-year-old beaten.

He takes on fillies and mares and while he will start from barrier seven, he has two wins in three starts at Alexandra Park, both over tonight's distance.

Sir Tosti Mach is also sitting on a bonus of half the winning stake for his third Alexandra Park victory, hence Purdon's sending him north early.

"He looks pretty hard to beat and he is my best chance for the night," says Herlihy.

- NZ Herald

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