Racing: Piccadilly line could be the ticket at park

By Michael Guerin

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

It is almost impossible to bet against the Purdon-Rasmussen machine at the moment and the good news for punters on tonight's $125,000 Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park is you won't have to.

But while the all-conquering stable who won four group ones in Sydney on Sunday have the two favourites in tonight's classic, deciding which one to back isn't quite so clear cut.

Golden Goddess is a red hot favourite for the first group one of carnival week and if she produced the exact form she displayed at Alexandra Park through December she would probably win, even from her tricky inside second line draw.

But as strong as Golden Goddess was winning the Sires' Stakes Champs on December 31, there was enough about the performance of runner-up Piccadilly Princess then and since to suggest she will be no pushover tonight.

She may not be blessed with Golden Goddess's imposing physique, but Piccadilly Princess has turned into a true pro, as she showed downing her more favoured stablemate at Methven on the grass two weeks ago.

Co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen, who comes north to reunite with Golden Goddess, is willing to make an excuse for that defeat but still admits the gap has closed at least slightly.

"Golden Goddess probably wasn't that suited to the grass as she likes the tracks firm so I think she will be better this week," says Rasmussen.

"But the other filly was very good beating her last start and has the better draw. So it won't be easy from the second line."

Golden Goddess opened $1.45 with the TAB and while the 2700m mobile should suit her better than her rivals, she is no value at those odds unless she bullies her way to the front in the middle stages.

So Piccadilly Princess would be worth chancing your arm on, or at least covering with, if she gets out to $3.50.

The Oaks lacks many serious winning hopes but the best version of Bettor Think Quick has enough toughness to at least push the Purdon-Rasmussen pair but outside of her and Arden's Choice it is hard to make a winning case for the remainder.

Later in the night Bettor Think Quick's stablemate Speeding Spur has his final lead-up to next week's Great Southern Star in Melbourne and should win even off a 50m handicap.

He trialled in sensational fashion at Alexandra Park last Saturday and the staggered handicaps of the race should see him attach to the body of the field without too much effort.

Auckland Cup runner-up Hughie Green returns in The Founders over 1700m and will be very short even though he looked flat at the workouts last Saturday. He should have the gate speed and respect to still win but is obviously not screwed down so early in a campaign that could include up to four group ones.

Punters looking for an anchor in the $50,000 Pick6 should look no further than driver Maurice McKendry, who has two options in Yagunnakissmeornot in the Breeders Trot and Shandale in race nine.

The former badly needed her run last Friday and is suited by the small field while Shandale will have a fitness and gate speed advantage over Stroke Of Luck, who is also prepping for next Friday's Northern Derby.

- NZ Herald

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