One-time New Zealand Cup favourite Heaven Rocks won't get a better chance to put his campaign back on track than at Addington tonight.

Because for the first time this season the mammoth pacer might be able to secure his beloved pacemaking role and finally pay back the punters he burned in October.

The two-time Jewels winner actually touched NZ Cup favouritism last month on the back of some stunning private and public workouts, a fact which hardly seems believable considering his subsequent form and that of stablemate Lazarus since.

While Lazarus has produced three increasingly-brilliant wins, Heaven Rocks has produced one shocker and then a solid third in the Ashburton Flying Stakes when he was driven with a sit.


He doesn't have to put up with Lazarus tonight but stablemates Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me (whom he shares the 30m backmark with) and Ultimate Machete (10m) still stand in his way.

Trainer Mark Purdon found it hard to split the quartet but admitted if partner Natalie Rasmussen let Heaven Rocks loose tonight he could work to the lead and if he secures that role and feels confident and comfortable we may see something more like his best.

Still, after his spring setbacks punters will want $2.50 to make it worth their while tonight, especially with Dream About Me pushing Lazarus close last start and Ultimate Machete already capable of open class times.

On a night where the All Stars will also dominate with three-year-olds in the Sires' Stakes heat for boys and girls, as well as having the unbeaten Chase Auckland in another race, one of the real highlights could be the big trot. It features two potential open class stars in Ronald J and Dark Horse, both getting ready for Cup week and newcomers who have looked special in the grades.

Considering Ronald J was a huge comeback third to Bordeaux at Kaikoura on Monday it almost seems unfair Dark Horse has to give him a 10m start but their manners will probably play a larger role in the final outcome than their handicaps.

If Ronald J can work to the lead even Dark Horse's rare speed - and she might be the fastest trotter racing in the country over 400m - might not be enough for her to run him down.

Alexandra Park also race tonight while NZ Cup contender Tiger Tara will confirm his Addington trip if he performs well at Menangle tomorrow night.

Friday favourites

Best bet:

Funatthebeach (Addington, R1): Beaten by a good horse on debut and drawn to win tonight.

Top trotter: Ronald J (Addington, R9): For all Dark Horse's speed, she might struggle to run Ronny down.