Spankem may have sealed the most unlikely Horse of the Year title by winning the Messenger at Alexandra Park last night.

In a race that looked a replay of last week's Taylor Mile, he headed home the same first four by leading and holding Turn It Up at bay, with Mach Shard and Chase Auckland next.

It was his fourth group one victory of the season, the biggest being the A$1 million Miracle Mile, and when you add the icing of races like the Kaikoura Cup and two Inter Dominion heats to his recent heroics, Spankem should be favourite to beat out New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer for the title.

Remarkably, Spankem didn't contest the New Zealand Cup, racing in the junior free-for-all that same day instead, as he had started the season very much a forgotten horse, with the Cup not on his programme.


The top juvenile of his year, he won just one race at three last term before his season was cut short by niggling problems and he was usurped in the glamour pacers rankings by at least five rivals.

But he has bounced back this season with his toughness and gate speed making him nearly impossible to beat when he leads.

That season could be over, though, with his trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen suggesting he will be allowed to bypass the Jewels at Addington in four weeks.

One horse who is almost certain to be at the Jewels and could seal the Trotter of the Year title there on June 1 is Sundees Son, who was brilliant beating the older horses in last night's $150,000 Rowe Cup.

As he did in last Friday's Anzac Cup, he came from well back with a surging run, this time finding the lead in the middle stages to win easily from Speeding Spur in what was the latter's last NZ start.

Enhance Your Calm (Northern Trot Derby) and Sweet On Me (Sires' Stakes Championship) justified their short favouritism in the night's other Group 1 races, with the former having to overcome an early gallop.