Old warrior Classie Brigade's rocket-fast standing-start manners could give him the tactical edge over Stylish Memphis, the new girl on the open-class scene, at Addington tomorrow night.
Their clash in the handicap pace seems unlikely, with Classie Brigade an established force and good enough to finish third in the New Zealand Cup last year and record two elite level wins this season.
Whereas Stylish Memphis was a very good, but not our best, three-year-old filly last season, and is stepping into the big time.
That means Classie Brigade has to give the four-year-old a 25m start but he is so fast from a standing start he could easily work his way past at least a couple of the horses between them, if Stylish Memphis goes away safely at all, as she has had only one standing start.
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With the respect he has garnered over the last 18 months since joining the Dunn stable, Classie Brigade could even work forward and wrest the lead and from there punters who took his $3 opening quote could be feeling a lot more comfortable.
"Giving a mare like Stylish Memphis a big start can be tough but those manners could really help," says driver John Dunn. "And his form this season has been every bit as good as last year."
The intrigue horse of the race is former NZ Cup winner Thefixer, who fibrillated last start when fresh-up for new trainer Regan Todd.
"I sent some of his blood work to Massey University to make sure he hasn't got a heart strain and they came back as good as gold," says Todd. "But he needs racing now to get back to fitness. But he still feels like a good horse when you work him."
The feature pace is not the richest at the meeting which celebrates 120 years of the NZ Metropolitan Club.
That honour lies with the $55,000 Sires' Stakes Trot where Bitamuscle's gate speed will be a huge help but this is an even crop who seem to be taking turns winning.
Earlier in the night, Majestic Man looks perfectly placed in the open-class trot, with the 1980m suited to his racing style while Pace N Pride gets the draw to leave maidens in the Sires' Stakes heat.