If you are worried about Marcoola's fitness heading into his comeback at Addington tonight don't be.

Because driver Clint Ford says the naturally athletic trotter has been keeping himself fit in track work.

The exciting four-year-old hasn't raced since a rare disappointing performance at Alexandra Park on December 31, when he over-raced and stopped in the National Trot.

But he has been brilliant over sprint trips this season, a massive winner over a mile at Cambridge on Christmas Eve while he pushed Monbet to a nose over tonight's 1950m distance in the NZ Trotting Free-For-All in November.


Taking on race hardened rivals like Master Lavros and the enormously improved Everybody Knows tonight he could be short of his best but Ford says Marcoola will be fit enough to be driven accordingly.

"He keeps himself fit," he explains.

"He is just that type of horse. On Saturday I worked him over three miles and wanted him to do nice even sectionals but he wanted to go too fast. So he has had some good blowouts and I have also given him some speed work.

"He only had a week or 10 days off after Auckland so he will be right in this."

With Monbet spelling and Speeding Spur staying in the north, Marcoola has a class edge over most of his southern rivals and if he approaches even money tonight he becomes backable.

On a night when serious racing returns to Addington for the first time since Cup week, Classie Brigade looks to continue his dynamic form in the Summer Cup. He has gone from chasing Lazarus last season to emerging as a genuine open class force this term, his last-start win at Invercargill the second fastest 3200m ever paced in New Zealand.

That will have earned him a stack of respect and while he probably can't dominate the race he has to be favoured again even against more glamour types like Christen Me and Locharburn.

Christen Me finds himself in a race he can win but you wonder if he still remembers how to do that while Locharburn trialled well last week and could be a value option for new driver Robbie Holmes.

The problem for him could be the presence of Captain Dolmio, who runs so hard on the speed that any lack of race fitness in his rivals is usually exposed.

The meeting is crammed with high class younger horses taking each other on in the grade races.

None more so than last season's Harness Jewels winner Heaven Rocks, who returns in a hot race nine where he will relish the return to the mobile.

The richest race of the night, the $150,000 Sales Series Fillies Pace, has drawn a disappointingly small field, with Spanish Armada continuing her somewhat one-sided battle with Delightful Memphis, with the scoreline 8-2 in the former's favour.

Meanwhile, at Menangle tomorrow night Have Faith In Me, Smolda and Hug The Wind try to qualify for the Miracle Mile via the preludes, while Vincent, Ultimate Machete and Partyon dominate their NSW Derby and Oaks heats respectively.

Weekend watch

Best bet:

Tiger Thompson (Addington, R6): Class three-year-old who trialled well last week and thrown in tonight.

Suited: Heaven Rocks (Addington, R9): Exceptional talent who will love the return to the mobile.

Flying Kiwis: Ultimate Machete, Vincent, Partyon, Piccadilly Princess all favourites at Menangle tomorrow night on Miracle Mile prelude night.