Melton – Saturday 6th February 2016
Hunter Cup Night
Sprint Lane – YES
Race 5 Australian Trotting Grand Prix G1 2240m (Mobile Start)
Keystone Del (31st October 2015) 1.57.20
2015- Stent 1.59.0
2014- Stent 1.59.1
2013- Vulcan 2.00.0
2012 – I Didn’t Do It 2.00.4
2011- Sundons Gift 1.59.1
NB: Past 4 winners have been trained in NZ.
Critical here with Keystone Del to take up the lead with Glenferrie Typhoon having the nice trailling draw. Kyvalley Blur gets the suck run 3 back the pegs. Monbet will probably come to the death seat giving Arboe a 1×1 position and a softer run than last week. It will then be left to Speeding Spur or Habibti to lead a 3 wide train up.
1.Glenferrie Typhoon – The new kid on the block dethroned the former champ Keystone Del two starts ago when ran a track record at Shepparton whilst leading. He then backed that up with a strong win at Melton last time. Another with a fantastic strike rate at the mobile (14/26) – he gets the gun run on the pegs and will be in this for a very long way.
2. Arboe – Monbet gave this mare a cold last time when she ran 6th in a heat of the Australasian Trotting Championship but there must’ve been something wrong as it was the worst run of her career. She’s won 7/9 including 5 in a row prior to that run. Anton Golino (trainer) and Greg Sugars (driver) are about as good as they get so if anyone can turn this mares form around it’s them.
3. Keystone Del – Racked up 6 in a row before a surprise 3rd as $1.60 favourite in The George Gath last week beaten by Glenferrie Typhoon. Has had a change of stable 3 starts ago and for the life of me I cannot work out why this horse was taken off Nicole Molander – I don’t think it’s gone as well since. Won the Bill Collins Mile and Dullard Cup (Group 1’s) last campaign but I’m just a bit wary that Del may is on the downward spiral.
4. Monbet – Won 15/25 and its last 6 in a row (and 9 from last 10). There may not be a superlative big enough for this star. Only a 4yo so the mind boggles just how good it could be. Won the Australasian Trotting Championship heat and final with ease – the latter in track record time from a 20m handicap. Moves back to the mobile here where the stats are just as compelling (8/11). He is coming up against what has arguably been Australasia’s best trotter in Keystone Del but the title of best is likely to be handed over tonight. Just an out and out superstar who could be the best we’ve seen in a very long time.
5. Speeding Spur – Won 15/25 just like the favourite and last year was as good as him but Monbet has taken the next step. In December ran secend to Monbet at Alexandra Park then won a nice race the following week. Was forced to do it tough from a 50m handicap last week when beaten a neck. Back to the mobile where the stats don’t lie (11/15) and it’s worth noting this horse won the Breeders Crown here in August as a 3yo when $1.30 favourite. The draw doesn’t help but is a definite e/w chance.
Race 6 4yo Bonanza G1 1720m (Mobile Start)
Smoken Up (4th February 2012) – 1.51.1
2015- Yankee Rockstar 1.52.4
2014- Chilli palmer 1.51.5
2013- Restrepo 1.52.4
2012 – The Phantom (2240m) 1.58.6
2011- Bitobliss (2240m) 1.57.9
Note – the race was changed to 1720m 3 years ago.
Wingara can lead early and its best chance is to hand up as I don’t think it’s tough enough to lead and win. Mark Purdon put the foot down last week when it led from barrier 6 so I expect him to do the same again and he can grab the lead. Tact Tate has led at 2 of its 4 starts in Australia but its real talent is speed so expect it to sit 1×1. Burnaholeinmypocket may be in trouble from inside the 2nd row. Fake Smile may be the horse left in the death seat. Tee Cee Bee Macray could get a soft run 3 pegs.
1. Tee Cee Bee Macray – Has won 6/9 and is still improving. Has found a hot race here. Sat behind the leader (and winner) The Culture last time and had its chance when they sped along in 1.51.6. Doesn’t possess huge gate speed so may find itself 3 pegs here – can run on late for a placing.
2. Wingara – Has good gate speed when needed as witnessed at Menangle two starts ago when it led from barrier 7 to beat a very nice horse in Aztec Bromac. Not sure it’s tough enough to lead and win but look for it late up the sprint lane. Confident it can find a place.
3. Tact Tate – Was good in New Zealand prior to coming to Australia but this gelding has really blossomed under Amanda Turnbull. Has won 4/4 since crossing the ditch – not really beating anything of note however it’s the speed that he possesses that is impressive. Got home in 55.1 at Shepparton in a heat of the Canberra Cup last time and 3 starts ago here at headquarters also got home in 55.4. There is some talk of it leading but knowing its racing pattern in NZ I think it’s better suited as a sit sprinter. Keen to lay at the short price.
4. Its Bettor To Win – Extremely smart kiwi who has run 2nd at both Australian starts but hasn’t been disappointing in either. Sat in the chair here two starts ago when 2nd (came again late) in 1.51.6 which was a huge effort then found the lead and got run down late by Yankee Rockstar (engaged in the Hunter Cup). Both those runs have been very good but its best win was 4 starts ago in the Auckland Cup where it won, defeating the likes of superstar Have Faith In Me and Hunter Cup favourite Smolda and another fancied runner in Mossdale Conner. I’m not convinced there’s as much pace in the race as most people think and I’m happy to be on this guy especially if he finds the front.
5. Burnaholeinmypocket – Won 11/21 including the VHRSC Cup and Queensland Nursery last season and also a very good 4th in the Jewels in NZ however couldn’t have asked for a worse draw – inside the 2nd row following a slow beginner. Kate Gath will either be 4 pegs or have to drag right back to last here – either way I just can’t see him winning with this draw.
Race 8 A G Hunter Cup G1 3280m (Standing Start)
Arden Rooney (7th February 2015) 1.58.4
2015- Arden Rooney 1.58.4
2014- Christen Me 1.59.2
2013- Mah Sish 1.59.2
2012 – Choise Achiever 1.59.9
2011- Stunin Cullen 2.01.1
Note – the past 6 winners have been trained at some stage in NZ
Speed maps are near impossible in a SS race but let’s give it a go! Ohoka Punter loves the tapes having won 4/9 and has led in both starts in Australia this time in. Smolda has won 4/12 from the SS but isn’t normally a “pinger” so Purdon may take his time to balance up with him and come 3 wide at some stage. Yankee Rockstar and Franco Ledger both like the tapes and whoever gets away the best there may gain the plum position of behind the leader. Im Corzin Terror has drawn badly in 10 but loves the tapes and may get a good run through at the start.
2. Yankee Rockstar – This horse is flying – only 2 SS for 1 win and a 3rd – the most recent when it won the Stawell Cup in track record time. Perhaps his best ever run was last week when came from a mile back and run down Itz Bettor To Win at Melton coming home in 55.3 over a mile. Has won 6/8 at the track and I think the distance will suit. The master Gavin Lang has the reins he ran 3rd to Ohoka Punter in the Shepparton Cup 3 starts ago – looks great e/w value tonight.
3. Ohoka Punter – Loves the tapes having won 4/9 and its last 2 in Australia led and won both SS events (Shepparton Cup and The Pure Steel at Melton). Beat the 2nd graders at both these starts however has performed admirably in NZ in the past running 2nd to Smolda in the flying stakes. Will be in it for a long way but can it sustain the pressure?
4. Smodla – A grand horse who topped $1m in prizemoney with its 2nd in the Victoria Cup last week going down fighting a head to Lennytheshark. Prior to that ran a track record to win the Ballarat Cup. Was a touch out of form back in NZ prior to this but loves Australia and always goes well here. Not a noted SS specialist it did have problems in the NZ cup getting away before putting up a huge performance.
5. Messini – Such a trier this little horse who ran 6th in the Shep Cup and 4th in the Victoria Cup. Put in some huge performances in NZ Cup week with a 5th in the Cup and 3rd in the FFA. Definitely one that can run a race here.
6. Mossdale Conner – Another who likes the tapes having won 5/14 – this guy has been excellent in 2 runs in Australia having run 4th in the Ballarat Cup then 3rd in the Victoria Cup where he loomed up on the turn but couldn’t quite get past Smolda and Lenny. Another with definite exotic chances.
7. Im Corzin Terror – 4/13 at the tapes and 6/21 at the distance this widely travelled horse is a decent e/w chance at around 25/1 or better. Luke McCarthy takes the reins after it galloped out last time at Ballarat. Prior to that easily won the Hamilton Cup after a 3rd in the Geelong Cup and a 4th in the Horsham Cup.
8. Franco Ledger – Was a shade unlucky when 4th in the Shepparton cup last time following a 5th in the Horsham Cup to Keayang Steamer. Did run 3rd in the Interdominion Consolation so is all around the mark lately without quite breaking through. Has won 13/25 from the tapes so that is a very good record and is drawn to get a soft run. The distance won’t hurt either having won 9/16. Has won at Group 1 level before winning the Bohemia Crystal FFA.