Racing: Orange unlikely to peel off early in $150k feature

By Michael Guerin

If you are banking on a more aggressive Delightful Memphis to pressure Spanish Armada early in the group one at Alexandra Park tonight, don't get too carried away. Photo / Greg Bowker
If you are banking on a more aggressive Delightful Memphis to pressure Spanish Armada early in the group one at Alexandra Park tonight, don't get too carried away. Photo / Greg Bowker

If you are banking on a more aggressive Delightful Memphis to pressure Spanish Armada early in the group one at Alexandra Park tonight, don't get too carried away.

Because driver Blair Orange says while he hasn't ruled out an early attack in the $150,000 Sales Series Pace, he doesn't think that would be the best way to drive his luckless filly.

Delightful Memphis has looked the only threat to the Mark Purdon-Natalie Rasmussen domination of the freshman female pacing division, led mainly by Spanish Armada.

After a stunning win in the Caduceus Club Final and then narrowly holding out Delightful Memphis in the Sires' Stakes last start, Spanish Armada would become only the second filly to win the Triple Crown should she triumph tonight.

From barrier three she will be a hot favourite to do so, with most expecting her to run to the lead as she did last start.

The flaw in that plan would be Delightful Memphis using her naturally high speed to try to get in front of the favourite and change the expected pattern of the race.

"But I'm not sure that is her go," admits Orange.

"I'd love to think it was and if we got in front of her [Spanish Armada] over 1700m then we would be hard to catch.

"But she can be just a little iffy into the first bend. She is fine after that but it makes me think she might not have the speed to get across the favourite.

"So while it is something you can't discount, because she might get up up on the gate and feel great, I am not thinking that is our first option," says Orange.

With that in mind, punters will feel comfortable anchoring Spanish Armada in their multi bets on a weekend where the premier meeting at Addington sees some very hot favourites.

Three of those are Spanish Armada's stablemates, More Then Better in the Sales Series Pace for the boys while Golden Goddess and Dream About Me dominate the Nevele R Fillies Final.

Golden Goddess has been heavily backed since opening at $2.50 on Wednesday and could even press for favouritism by race start time at tomorrow's day meeting in Christchurch.

Trainer Mark Purdon has both of them and Piccadilly Princess in the Fillies Final and says the draw points to Golden Goddess. "They are three great fillies but Golden Goddess has a big advantage with the draw and she is right at her peak at the moment," says Purdon.

"So as good as the other two fillies are she would be our best winning chance."

Purdon says there is little between More The Better and stablemate Pacing Major in the $200,000 Sales Series Pace but again the draw has been far kinder to the former.

"He has to be the horse to beat but reverse their draws and I'd feel the other way," he says.

Northern speedster Vasari is the obvious danger to the favoured pair but it is hard to see how he can win unless he can cross to the lead at the start and even that would leave him with More The Better sitting on his back waiting the passing lane.

- NZ Herald

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