Racing: No Doctor Needed has winning cure

By Michael Guerin

No Doctor Needed's driver Scott Phelan. Photo / Dean Purcell
No Doctor Needed's driver Scott Phelan. Photo / Dean Purcell

The conditions may not appear to suit the best pacer at Alexandra Park tonight but looks can be deceiving.

No Doctor Needed is still the one to beat in the handicap pace and the first horse needed by those chasing the $40,000 Pick6.

The open class pacer is on the road to the New Zealand Cup but was surprisingly beaten into third by similar opponents to what he meets tonight at his last start.

Why that could worry punters is that race was under mobile conditions and No Doctor Needed led, whereas tonight he faces a 35m handicap, so he is technically worse off.

However, countering that could be three factors: his natural improvement since his comeback race, the small size of tonight's field and that his key opponents are all fresh up.

"He will definitely be a better horse now tonight, he was only 85 per cent fit for that race so the racing will help," says co-trainer Steve Telfer.

"And I wasn't disappointed with him that night, he ran home [800m] in 55 seconds."

While he is almost certain to settle last, his main rivals - Ideal Belle, Start Dreaming and Little Rascal - are all having their first starts back for the new term so are probably not ready to make their own luck over 2700m.

So driver Scott Phelan may have the opportunity to move mid-race without too many traffic concerns.

While No Doctor Needed is the only Cup contender on show, Ideal Belle and Start Dreaming are proven group one mares and trainer Barry Purdon says he can't choose between them.

"They are very different mares - Ideal Belle is a very good stayer, while Start Dreaming is probably faster," he said.

"So a lot will come down to how the race is run and that isn't really in our control. But they are both forward enough to be there because they trialled well behind Hughie Green last Saturday."

Purdon also opted for Laredo Torpedo (R8) as one of his better chances, dropping back into a weaker maiden race so he is a Pick6 must.

Tonight hosts a punting novelty in the first of three Alexandra Park heats this season for the Addington Punter of the Year challenge.

Punters who fancy their harness knowledge or want a bit of fun can enter tonight's on-course competition for $500, with a minimum $50 bet per race.

The punter or team with the highest balance from their $500 at the end of the night keeps that money plus wins $2000, with the top three from each heat invited to the national final at Addington on Show Day (November 11), which has a $50,000 first prize.

Alexandra Park will also host heats on September 30 and October 14, with more details available at the Addington and TAB websites.

Friday fancies

• Best bet: Big Mach (R5, No 5). Showed big ability as a juvenile last season and falls into a conditioned race here.

• Back to best: Realmein (R6, No 8). Was super behind One Over Da Moon last start so if he behaves can win for first time here in nearly two years.

• Suited: Laredo Torpedo: (R8, No 8). Has been racing against sharp young maidens, drops back to easier field tonight.

- NZ Herald

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