Racing: Spankem has tricky options in Addington feature

By Michael Guerin

The juvenile colt is looking to extend a wonderful record for trainer-driver Mark Purdon in the $200,000 Sales Series Pace at Addington tonight. Photo / 123RF
The juvenile colt is looking to extend a wonderful record for trainer-driver Mark Purdon in the $200,000 Sales Series Pace at Addington tonight. Photo / 123RF

Spankem will have an unusual advantage heading into New Zealand's richest race of the weekend but it is one his driver is loath to use.

The juvenile colt is looking to extend a wonderful record for trainer-driver Mark Purdon in the $200,000 Sales Series Pace at Addington tonight, with the All Stars having won five of the last six runnings.

They would be hot favourites to do so again if Spankem had drawn well but he will instead start from the outside of the second line - albeit with no rival directly in front of him.

In a rare occurrence the 1950m feature will have six on the front line and seven on the second, so Spankem could actually keep pressing forward at the start and get in front of his fellow second line rivals straight away.

But Purdon says that could be disastrous.

"It looks good on paper but I can see them really burning early off the front line and if we are out wide and working that could be the end of him," he told the Herald.

"So I think we will have to take our luck early, settle back and then move mid-race.

"That is going to make it hard and while I think he is a good horse we still aren't sure how good. I think we might find out this week."

Spankem has been a consistent improver over the autumn but tonight's race also features the two horses who have already beaten him in his career - Alta Maestro (barrier two) and Mach Shard (three).

The best, and usually only, way to beat the All Stars runners in elite races is to get in front of them so Alta Maestro and Mach Shard both get their chance tonight.

"We have beaten him before and if we can lead and get any sort of comfortable section of the race we can win," says Mach Shard's trainer-driver Barry Purdon.

"I am happy with my horse, he just hasn't had any luck lately, but he finally gets a draw this week."

The early burn will be crucial with whoever can lead out of Alta Maestro or Mach Shard probably the biggest danger to the favourite.

On a night of serious racing the barrier draws favour Spanish Armada against stablemate Partyon in the $140,000 Nevele R Fillies Final.

There hasn't been much between the pair so far in their careers but every time they have met Partyon has ended up in front of Spanish Armada.

But tonight the latter looks the more likely leader.

"Obviously the draw helps her and on their work I'd narrowly favour Spanish Armada," says Mark Purdon.

Northern trotters Lemond and Paramount King deserve their favouritisms for the two major trots tonight, with Lemond's last-start Rowe Cup effort vastly better form than his rivals can boast in race six.

Paramount King is anything but the finished product but has huge natural talent so can win the Sales Series Trot, although there is enough to like about Springbank Lachie, One Muscle Hill and Stress Factor to suggest it will be a decent contest.

Night punts

Best bet: Wilma's Mate (Addington R5): Has been racing in far better grade and raw speed negates the handicap.

Class drop: Max Phactor (Alex Park, R5): Latest efforts have been against Lazarus, meets normal horses tonight.

Place punt: Mach Shard (Addington, R10): Finally gets another good draw and $3 fixed place quote very tempting.

- NZ Herald

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