Put relatively big money on the line and you will get competitive racing with unlucky runners. Abbey Road was one of those at Trentham last Saturday.
Abbey Road (No 1, R1) literally kicks off Trentham's biggest day of the year this afternoon and while Meatloaf thought two out of three ain't bad, we'd like to think three number ones would be more appropriate here.
Abbey Road found himself near the back of the field after 200m a week ago and when Jonathan Parkes looked for gaps after rounding the home bend there were none. The in-form runner found clear air very late and finished off into fifth in the closing few strides.
He can race handier than last week and if he can do that here to relatively take luck out of the equation he should be difficult to contain in the closing stages.
In the main race, the $250,000 Berkett Telegraph the hugely talented Start Wondering (No 1, R8) has a huge job ahead under joint topweight of 58kg. But he can do it. He can run slick sectionals, staying handy and kicking hard late off a fast pace, the type of horse that is difficult to get past in any race. He is up 2.5kg for winning Ellerslie's Railway and although not a massive horse in terms of height, he is extremely strong and will shoulder his weight well. He will give it his all for his trainers Evan and JJ Rayner and is the safest each-way bet.
The dangers look to be Perfect Fit (No 3), second in the Railway, Australian sprinter Odyssey Moon (No 4) and fresh runner Luna Rossa (No 18). Perfect Fit meets Start Wondering 2.5kg better this time and that has to make some difference on the 1.3 lengths that separated them at Ellerslie. Luna Rossa is probably more a 1400 to 1600m type, but she has not raced since October and in a fresh state can figure here in a race that can often suit horses roaring home.
She won a 935m trial quite easily at Cambridge recently after receiving all favours in running. Matt Cameron has taken the ride at 52.5kg, significantly below the weight he can normally ride at. Odyssey Moon won the group three Standish at Flemington on January 1, a bold guide to this and his Melbourne-based jockey Noel Callow was keen to make the trip to ride him. An extremely interesting race.
Even if the $250,000 Wallaceville Estate Wellington Cup is not the best 3200m re-run we have seen, it will be an extremely competitive race.
There is strong staying form from many runners. One is Jacksstar (No 4, R10) along with last year's winner of this race, Mister Impatience (No 2), the only 3200m winner in the field. Jacksstar won here over the metric two miles on December 3 and is as rock hard as trainer Gary Vile can get him and at yesterday's TAB Final Field odds of $7.50 and $2.80 he looks great each-way value.
There are 10 horses that could win this without causing an eyebrow to raise. Bloodstream (No 3) has strong claims. He was making ground nicely four lengths behind Sampson over 2100m on this track a week back. He is a dour stayer and will be suited by the 3200m. Alinko Prince (No 7) was bombed late by Jacksstar on December 3 and meets that horse 3kg better this time. Fanatic (No 7) was a fraction below expectations at Ellerslie last start and she was then found to have fibrillated.
Her two best runs have been like this left-handed track and she could surprise. She has as much ability as anything in this field.
Difficult to believe Farrando (No 2, R4) took any harm from his fresh-up Thames victory. He jumped and ran and did not have to be ridden out to score by 3.5 lengths. He is a magnificent type and although Thames to a premier 3YO event is a huge jump, he could well be up for it.
Crookshanks (No 14, R5) would not be at Trentham if trainer Chris McNab was not happy she is forward enough to resume. She made an impression in the spring and is one who can finish off strongly, which should suit this race. Classy horseman Jason Waddell takes the ride.
Sin To Win (No 4, R6) should have won at Ruakaka last start. It was a reasonably strong R65 field and he should be well placed in this line-up from his inside barrier.
The danger could be another northerner Nymph (No 17). Her Ellerslie special conditions win last start was phenomenal. She came from last and powered past them late. Trentham's big wide spaces should suit her perfectly.
Rock On (No 4, R9) is entitled to favouritism after a solid run of form. He is a stayer with a real future and the step to 2400m will not faze him. He looks beautifully placed on 54.5kg.
There is a tendency to shy away from horse with 60kg and more, but the 60.5kg All Roads (No 1, R11) is not too far up from the weights the main chances will carry. He was just beaten in group company at Ellerslie and he could be too good here.