Racing: Big task for Christen Me

By Michael Guerin

Christen Me faces an enormous task in the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park in Brisbane Photo / Dean Purcell
Christen Me faces an enormous task in the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park in Brisbane Photo / Dean Purcell

Cran Dalgety has been here before and that is the main reason he still thinks Christen Me can save his season with a A$200,000 win on Saturday night.

After the season from hell, Christen Me faces an enormous task in the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park in Brisbane on Saturday night, drawn the outside of the second line.

To make matters worse the favourites Hectorjayjay (five) and Ohoka Punter (six) have drawn to be masters of their own destinies, while Christen Me will have to play the stalker.

But trainer Dalgety is a hardened veteran on the Australian grand circuit and knows how quickly a bad draw can become good.

"It seems to be in Australia the bigger the race the harder they go off the gate," he told the Herald.

"Especially in Brisbane because Albion Park is seen as a front-end track.

"So you can expect them all to light up early and then maybe we have a chance.

From what I have seen over the years drawing barriers one to four can be the worst thing for you in big races over there because you feel obliged to use it."

While the draw is not insurmountable what might concern Dalgety more, whether he admits it or not, is Christen Me's lack of final punch this season.

He has been better since returning from an enforced summer spell but still races like a V8 with a cylinder or two misfiring.

He was held up very slightly when second in the Sunshine Sprint against similar opposition last Saturday but was simply outpointed by both winner Hectorjayjay and the third placed Ohoka Punter.

"The winner was very good and we might have to find another length or two to beat him," admits Dalgety.

"But I am not so worried by Hectorjayjay drawing five because it might not ideally suit him, I think he is a far better swooper.

"Then again, if the race sets up for us by going very fast in front it will probably set up for him too."

Christen Me's lukewarm form and barrier draw means some Australian bookies are betting as much as $6.50 for the $2.4 million earner who is still the reigning NZ Horse of the Year, another indication of just how much the open class ranks in both gaits have changed in 12 months.

While hopeful rather than confident with Christen Me, Dalgety was left beaming by the performance of his juvenile pacer On The Rantan at the Rangiora trials yesterday.

He bolted in with a 56.2 second last 800m and will take on Pacing Major in a Breeders Crown heat next week.

"Forget his last start defeat at Addington because he was very good having a hard run against older horses," he explains. "We are still dead keen on the Breeders Crown."

- NZ Herald

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