Racing: Poor show tonight needs Damn Good Excuse

By Michael Guerin

A Damn Good Excuse's co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie (left). Photo / Stuart McCormick
A Damn Good Excuse's co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie (left). Photo / Stuart McCormick

A 10m handicap may not be enough to stop A Damn Good Excuse repeating her last-start win at Cambridge tonight.

The locally bred mare meets similar opposition in tonight's main handicap pace to those she beat on this track 11 days ago, when she was able to jump straight to the lead and enable co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie to dictate the tempo.

But Dickie believes just because she has gone back 10m in the handicaps there is no reason she can't attempt the same.

"She might be off 10m but she is out wide on the unruly and if she steps as quickly as she did last start she can probably go forward again," he explains.

"She is a good mare in this grade, particularly away from Alexandra Park where you often find one or two who have a bit more class.

"So I think she can win again."

The most obvious danger to A Damn Good Excuse should be Stars And Sound, who trailed her and finished second last start but with the extra 10m could well put more horses between the pair early. That suggests A Damn Good Excuse could need to use more energy and leave her vulnerable in the straight.

Earlier in the night Dickie will partner one of the veterans of northern harness racing when Meyer Lansky drops back to a luxury class one assessment in race three.

That is a competitive mark for an eight-win trotter, especially as the front line in the maiden event is not strong but it is still hard to be too confident backing a horse who will be a teenager in a few days.

"He probably has an each way chance in that grade but he isn't exactly his brother," he said in reference to Meyer Lansky's superstar half brother Speeding Spur.

The latter, who won the Great Southern Star this season before suffering a leg injury in the Anzac Cup, is back walking 20 minutes at day at Woodlands Stud and could rejoin the Dickie stable for light jogging next month.

"The reports are good, even though it is very early days and we hope we can have him racing again for the big races in Aussie early next year."

One of the other highlights at Cambridge tonight, continuing the trend of recent weeks, will be the Breeders Crown non-tote, which sees Shandale take on Major Ben.

Trainer Maurice McKendry is still unsure about whether Shandale will actually head to the series in Victoria next month.

- NZ Herald

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