Racing: Vampiro tipped to bite back at Alex Park tonight

By Michael Guerin

Maxim with Brent Mangos. Photo / Bevan Conley
Maxim with Brent Mangos. Photo / Bevan Conley

Brent Mangos is set to be the star of the show at Alexandra Park tonight but his best chance may surprise you.

The Pukekohe horseman lines up the class horse on the night - former Victoria Derby winner Maxim - as well as talented juvenile Culpeka, who uses tonight's meeting as a lead-up to over $500,000 worth of races in the next month.

Yet while Mangos thinks that pair can both win, he rates Vampiro potentially his top chance of the night even from a tricky draw in race four.

"He had no luck last week when I thought he could win on a premier night," Mangos said.

"He was following the favourite and got pushed back at the wrong time and never got clear.

"I definitely rate him a premier grade horse in this grade and if he has any luck I think he can win."

Mangos should start the night with a victory as Culpeka has looked very sharp in his three starts and heads to Addington next week for the rich Sales Series Pace.

He was second to Alta Maestro in a super fast time last start and while off colour for a few days after, a private workout at Pukekohe on Tuesday convinced Mangos he is ready to win.

"It is only a small field and The Black Prince should probably be the main danger."

Maxim's recent form includes a third in the Easter Cup and a luckless fourth to Cash N Flow in a race he simply couldn't win last Friday.

"Once we went back at the start from the bad draw we had no luck but he actually went really well," said Mangos.

"But that is the problem again this week. He is off a 35 handicap which is hard at Alexandra Park because the tempo of the race might dictate our chances.

"If he steps as quickly as he did in the Easter Cup and gets past a few early then he can win but if he gets back and they got 3:22 (for 2700m) off the front he might have no hope," Mangos said.

"I wouldn't say he can't win but to be honest he could win or finish third with exactly the same level of performance, it all depends how hard they go."

Maxim will be conceding that full 35 handicap to three Cran Dalgety-trained runners on the front line and Dalgety looks set to win the first ever Northern Trotting Oaks (race nine) with Chevron Express.

She only just beat key rival Regal Love in the NZ Oaks on March 31 but was clearly superior to her in the Sires' Stakes last start so should make it an Oaks double tonight, especially with Dexter Dunn making the trip north to drive her in favour of driving at Addington.

There will be plenty of northern interest at Addington, where Mach Shard takes on Spankem and The Devils Own in a strong juvenile race while wonderful mare The Orange Agent should be red hot in her return to Australia at Melton in Victoria tomorrow night.

- NZ Herald

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