Track Surface: All Weather
There IS a sprint lane.
R7 Group 1 Fred Shaw NZ Trotting Championship – 2600m Mobile Start
2015 – Stent
2014 – Master Lavros
2013 – Vulcan
2012 – I Can Doosit
2011 – Stylish Monarch
Tough speed map but can expect Harriet Of Mot and Sheemon to head forward early. Monbet might make an earlier move than last week here from the mobile.
2. Harriet Of Mot: An excellent third to Monbet last week in the G3 Trotting Championship here when second favourite. Prior to that won three in a row – is really stepping up to the top class here and if it can get a good run from the nice draw.
6. Sheemon: Was a good second to Sunny Ruby here last time after winning at this track two starts ago. Couldn’t handle the class when eighth in the National Trot (G1) behind Monbet and Speeding Spur on New Year Eve (was fourth favourite that day). Did manage a third in the Dominion Trot (G1) in November behind Master Lavros which could be his best effort yet. At its best is the main danger to the favourite.
7. Monbet: The benchmark horse in NZ at the moment. Has won 16 from 27 starts including the National Trot beating superstar Speeding Spur in December. An offer for over half a million dollars was knocked back for this horse during the week – can he repay them instantly? I certainly think so.
8. Sunny Ruby: Awesome effort last week to go down by a narrow margin to Monbet. Prior to that beat Sheemon here after an eigth to that horse three starts ago. Seems to mix his form running one good race followed by a below par effort – hopefully for its sake that pattern stops.
R8 Group 1 A Rocknroll Dance New Zealand Derby – 2600m Mobile Start
2015 – Have Faith In Me
2014 – Locharburn
2013 – Border Control
2012 – Fly Like An Eagel
2011 – Gold Ace
Looking at the past winners only the very best win this race. Lazarus has come up with a back row draw but it shouldn’t matter. Expect Mark Purdon to head forward and look for the death seat at some stage. Shandale might have an early dip for the lead or at least to try and get a trail. Classie Brigade also has gate speed.
Vital Lead Up Race
Last week’s Flying Stakes (G2) was a vital lead up to this event in which many of these horses competed. Classie Brigade led and was run down late by Lazarus.
1. Classie Brigade: Ran a big race in the lead up last week leading and was narrowly gunned down by Lazarus. Will look to lead again attempting to go one better, however this race is an extra 700m which makes a turnaround in results unlikely. His best effort was third when beaten 5.5m behind Lazarus in the G1 Sires Stakes Final in November 2015 and he needs to improve dramatically to turn the tables here.
5. Shandale: Will try and gain a good position early with ‘the Magic Man’ Maurice McKendry driving. Was fourth last week in the Flying after a seventh to Lazarus in the Northern Derby (G1). His best run was when second in the Yearling Sales (Listed) behind Lazarus in May 2015. Keeps finding the big horse too good and that should be the case again here.
11. Lazarus: Probable champion who has won 14 from 16 including his last nine in a row. Won the lead up Flying Stakes doing it tough and narrowly defeating Classie Brigade. Prior to that won the G1 Northern Derby to go in the cabinet with other trophies such as the Victorian Derby, Yearling Sales Final, the Alabar Classic, Super Series Final and the Emerald on Jewels Day in this unbeaten run. Will have to do work again but impossible to go past despite being long odds on.