Racing: Sangster looks too strong

By Mike Dillon

Rival horseman hopeful, rather than confident, he can win Auckland Cup.

Annie Higgins (outer) will be seeking to add the Auckland Cup to her Waikato Gold Cup triumph. Photo / Christine Cornege
Annie Higgins (outer) will be seeking to add the Auckland Cup to her Waikato Gold Cup triumph. Photo / Christine Cornege

Cambridge galloper Sangster looks a special in tomorrow's $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup.

But don't tell that to some of the rival trainers.

Lance Noble isn't confident of topping Sangster with classy mare Annie Higgins, but nor will he be surprised if that happens.

Noble is delighted with the way Annie Higgins will present for the big race.

"She hasn't had a lot of luck and her work in recent weeks has been first class," Noble told the Herald yesterday.

Like a few of her rivals, Annie Higgins has not faced a 3200m race.

"Leith Innes, who has been riding her, is adamant the 3200m will not be a problem for her," said Noble.

Annie Higgins has at times shown a tendency to over-race in some of her staying races, but Noble believes the circumstances this time are in her favour.

"The inside barrier will help her settle. She will come out of No 4 if the emergencies are scratched and that will help her be buried behind them (the lead horses).

"It also means she won't have to be hunted up early and start pulling."

With Leith Innes suspended, Annie Higgins will be ridden by Vinnie Colgan, an extremely cool staying rider.

"If Vinnie gives her the same ride he gave Habibi we'll be very pleased," said Noble.

"Sangster is really good and he's probably a shade fresher than most of the field.

"The way the racing schedule around the carnivals has changed these stayers can have a really long season.

"Despite that Annie Higgins will strip a very fit horse."

Weight is an important factor in 3200m races and Sangster has the high ground there.

He carried 59kg to win the Avondale Cup last start and drops to 54.5kg this time.

A win by Annie Higgins would be a great farewell present to Colgan, who is heading to a contract as stable rider for Tony McEvoy in Adelaide.

Top Victorian rider Craig Williams rides the Stephen McKee-trained Chaparrone.

She has been unlucky in recent racing and is one of the main dangers, particularly after her strong-finishing third in the Avondale Cup.

- NZ Herald

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