It is the draw which shapes the market for New Zealand Derby but punters have no idea whether it is actually good or bad.

Ultimate Machete is guaranteed to start favourite in the $200,000 classic at Addington on Friday night after drawing the ace on the track where he has already won the Sires' Stakes Final and last week's Flying Stakes.

With stablemate and key market challenger Vincent drawn four, Ultimate Machete may at first glance look to have the advantage and immediately opened the $1.50 favourite with the Australian TAB.

But while draws play a huge role in harness markets, whether barrier one is actually helpful for Ultimate Machete is debatable. He has yet to show blazing gate speed and is on a front line with some quick beginners, most notably Raukapuka Ruler (gate 6) and Tiger Thompson (3).


If either can cross Ultimate Machete early then the perceived advantage of the ace draw could be lost.

Even if driver Natalie Ramussen is aggressive early, it still means he might work harder than Vincent, who has looked at least his equal in their two meetings.

So the advantage over Vincent suggested by the draw may be false advertising, with the early tactics crucial for the pair who have long dominated the Derby market.

Rival trainers will be left lamenting the draws though, with many probably going into the race thinking if they drew well and the favourites did not they had an upset chance.

With the Purdon-Rasmussen pair both likely to settle handy such dreams and probably even the place hopes of most have disappeared.

Lazarus has drawn widest under the preferential conditions of the free-for-all, a race in which Waikiki Beach needs to start finding some form.

Last season's near unbeatable three-year-old hasn't won in six starts this term and needs to start earning some money to secure a spot in the Jewels in June. He probably needs to earn $40,000 by late next month to make the Jewels and while he is set to race in some big money races in the next month, almost all of those are against Lazarus.

Troubled trotter Master Lavros has come up with the best draw in a weak Trotting Champs on Friday while Enghien faces a second line draw as hot favourite in the Trotting Derby.