Horse racing: Wide draws hinder classiest prospects

By Michael Guerin

Maurice McKendry. Photo / Greg Bowker
Maurice McKendry. Photo / Greg Bowker

There is no shortage of confidence from some of the north's elite horsemen heading to Alexandra Park tonight -you just won't find it in the biggest race of the night.

The key players in the $15,000 Mitavite Mobile know just how tricky the 1700m sprint will be, with luck and tempo almost certain to decide the winner.

The preferential barrier draw conditions mean the stars of the field like Auckland Cup runner-up Hughie Green and Harness Jewels winner Rocker Band have drawn wide, from where getting handy early will be difficult.

So if their rivals pace even time and they are trapped back they may struggle to catch them. Or if one of them can make a lightning mid-race move to get parked, chance could favour the brave.

Or one of them could blast the gate, wrest the lead and then look a good thing. The reality for punters is, it is impossible to know so you will want each-way odds for anything to bet with confidence.

"They can be tricky races these 1700m mobiles because all these horses can run 55 second halves [800m]," says Maurice McKendry.

McKendry is perfectly placed to rate the field, being the usual driver of Hughie Green but having to gift those reins to Tony Herlihy tonight so he can partner his own stable rep Shandale.

"I think Hughie has been going well but so much depends on how hard they go early," he explains.

"They don't go too hard and it suits horses like my fella or Motown.

"But if they go really hard then they make come back to Hughie and Rocker Band."
If that doesn't sound very helpful rival driver Josh Dickie feels the same partnering the fresh-up Motown.

"He is working and trialling well enough to go close to winning but in a race like this anything can happen," says Dickie.

"We get an easy time or a good sit in the trail we can win. But he hasn't yet raced up to horses like Hughie Green.

"So it is not an easy race to predict."

While Hughie Green has the record Rocker Band was so good last start she might be able to stay in front of the big horse and be hard to beat, as she was good enough to sit parked and down several of these last start.

The good news is that while Dickie and McKendry are unsure what will unfold in the pacing highlight of the night, both are happy to tip punters into some of their other drives tonight.

Dickie and his father John believe they have a Trotting Derby contender in C K Spur so only his lack of standing start experience looks an issue in race three.

"He is a good trotter and I think he will be fine from the stand so he has to be hard to beat," says Dickie. McKendry believes he can win with Gotta Go Dali Queen (R8).

"She was very good winning on debut then last start she burned early but still stuck in very well for fourth," he offers.

"She will improve with that and I think she is a nice filly so she will go close.

"And I think Kaitlyn has to be a good chance in race six. She went well on debut and trialled well last weekend."

On the shortened programme, which sees the $40,000 Pick6
begin on race four, one of the mini feature of the night is the opening clash among Scarrymcleary, Blackguards Corner and Idle Bones, the trotters also racing over the mobile 1700m.

With a wealth of mobile racing experience in Australia under her belt, the sometimes costly Idle Bones gets her chance tonight.

Best at the Park
Best bet: C K Spur (R3, No 8): Classy young trotter who should win if he behaves.
This time: Circles (R6, No 10: Cops another second line draw but brave in second last Friday.
Mobile help: Idle Bones (R1, No 6): Has won six from behind the mobile, so tonight suits.

- NZ Herald

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