By MICHAEL GUERIN
Doug Gale could not have invented a more perfect comeback race for Parisian Falcon.
Gale is the co-trainer of the outstanding 3-year-old who will dominate betting in the first northern Sires' Stakes heat of the season at Cambridge tonight.
While Sires' Stakes racing is always challenging, the key factors have fallen perfectly into place for Parisian Falcon.
Firstly, he doesn't clash with his nemesis Matai Mackenzie, who is still two weeks away from a return, while fellow hotshot youngsters I'vecomealongway and Young Rufus are also missing.
So Parisian Falcon, the winner of two of his nine starts but a player in every major juvenile race last season, has a distinct class edge.
But it gets better. He has also drawn the ace at the tricky Cambridge mile start point, from where he looks certain to assume his favoured front-running role.
And just for good measure, both his career wins have come on the Cambridge track.
"He will lead and he goes well in front so we couldn't be happier with that side of things," said Gale.
Parisian Falcon pleased his trainers when running second to Thunder N Lightning at the Pukekohe trials two weeks ago.
"And he has worked well since," said Gale. "I am confident he could break 1:58 for the mile tonight."
That is Gale's conservative nature coming to the fore, as Parisian Falcon seems capable of pacing a fair bit faster than 1:58 tonight. But if driver Peter Ferguson can dominate the race from the ace, they may get away with an easy middle section.
While most of the big guns of the classic crop are missing, Parisian Falcon will clash with some interesting rivals, namely Sharp Response and Alert Motoring.
The former looked high-class against the best opposition in the South Island last season and is a newcomer to the Steven Reid stable, which has an excellent record with southern imports.
Alert Motoring is stepping up from maiden company but has shown class in his short career and has race fitness on his side. He looks likely to trail the favourite, from where he would get last crack at him via the passing lane.
Later, New York Fella should continue his winning comeback in the fourth leg of Pick Six, providing he handles the standing start.
The 6-year-old was stunning in his return to racing here two weeks ago and looks headed for open class. With anything like a steady beginning he looks a Pick Six anchor.
Champion pacer Courage Under Fire will return to racing tomorrow, but not at Harold Park as expected.
The former Kiwi hero, now trained by Brian Hancock in New South Wales, will contest a lowly $A2600 sprint at Bathurst.
The 5.43 pm event will be screened live on Trackside with the TAB accepting betting on it.
By MICHAEL GUERIN