New Zealand’s first Group 1 harness race of the season is here and to celebrate we are introducing our new regular harness mind, The Harness Pro.
With over 15 years of professional harness punting experience, The Harness Pro will be analysing the key races of the season to provide Betfair punters with insight and his suggested bets.
Day 2 @ ‘The Met’ – Addington, Friday 13 November
Surface: All Weather
Track Circumference: 1193m
Current NZ Drivers Premiership
Dexter Dunn – 48 wins/225 starts
Blair Orange – 30 wins/197 starts
John Dunn – 27 wins/159 starts
Current NZ Trainers Premiership
Mark Pudon/Natalie Rasmussen – 30 wins/72 starts
Robert Dunn – 16 wins/160 starts
Tony Herlihy – 15 wins/74 starts
Bettors Delight (x4), Christian Cullen (x5), Sundon (x1)
Race Anlaysis & Suggested Bets
Recent winners include:
2014 – Jaccka Justy
2013 – Master Lavros
2012 – I Can Doosit
2011 – Vulcan
2010 – Stylish Monarch
Runner & Comment:
- Springbank Sam: On form he’s hard to have but a soft draw gives him a rough place chance.
- Valmagne: Was OK when running 5th here on Cup day. This is harder much harder.
- Quite A Moment: Very good 3rd to Stent at Kaikoura. Keeps improving and is consistent. Place chance.
- Sheemon: Disqualified after breaking early on Cup day but did run on very well into 5th. Can run top three.
- Alley Way: Ran a big race at odds when 2nd to Monbet on Tuesday. Likes the SS and can run top. Three.
- Uncas: Big odds on Tuesday and ran accordingly. No.
- Stent: Has consistently been one of Australasia’s best trotters over the past year. Will start favourite and deservedly so after its Kaikoura FFA win.
- Harryshul: Midfield at Kaikoura – can’t see much improvement here.
- Master Lavros: Led at Kaikoura but run down to finish 4th when he was on the second line of betting. Has had some good duels with Stent in the past and will give plenty of cheek without winning.
- Daryl Boko: Finnish import who had its 1st start here on Cup day when sweated up badly. He galloped while tracking into the race nicely and if you forgive that run he’s a mile over the odds.
- Jag’s Invasion: Hard to see a form turnaround from Tuesday. Midfield.
- Habibti: Ran up to its price on Tuesday when 3rd after a nice trail. This is harder.
- Prime Power: Visitor heading south for this and going well enough to run into the placings with some luck in running.
- Kincaslough: Could only manage 7th on Tuesday after a tough run. Won’t be getting it any easier here.
- One Over Da Moon: Had the run of the race on Tuesday behind the leader but when the gaps opened it didn’t really extend. Place chance at best.
All of these horses have come out of two races, the FFA at Kaikoura or Tuesday’s FFA on Cup day at this venue. I’m confident the two top chances bypassed Tuesday and are primed today to win New Zealand’s premier trotting race.
STENT has won 30 of 64 starts including 2 from 3 this campaign. He won at Kaikoura courtesy of an opportunistic run. He’s started favourite in his last 7 runs in the top echelon in New Zealand after coming back from Australia where he won 5 in a row including the Great Southern Star which is now the pinnacle for the trotters. What a horse! It will take something special to beat it.
MASTER LAVROS is the only horse to conquer Stent in recent times. He did that in May when it received 10m start in a handicap. Clearly the 2nd best horse in the race but I’m afraid he may be looking at Stent’s rump again as they cross the line.
DARYL BOKO is the interesting import from Finland who was having its first run in New Zealand on Tuesday when it sweated up badly prior to the start. He dropped out to the tail of the field and was starting to round them up and look a real chance when it galloped. Will have benefited from the experience and is the value runner.
SHEEMON also galloped on Tuesday early but recovered for a fast finishing 5th only to be disqualified. Dexter Dunn should be able to control it today to run top three.
Recent winners include:
2014 – Helena Jet
Runner & Comment:
- Art Critic: Good 3rd here on Tuesday to Lightning Mach. Gets better draw and can run a place.
- Lovetodream: Beaten favourite on Tuesday when forced to do work and sit in the death. Gets a much better draw here, second up suits and is a winning chance.
- Royal Counsel: Going well but this is a step up in class, midfield finish.
- Eva Sophnally: Won well at Ashburton last time but I think midfield is most likely outcome.
- Lightning Mach: Dexter got this girl to the lead early on Cup day and she was never in doubt. A definite winning chance on that effort.
- Tintinara: Sent to Forbury Park in an easy race and dominated as it should’ve winning by close to 10m. Very good sprint and with even luck in running will be in the finish.
- River Polka: Heads south after racing well. But rise in class gives it place claims at best.
- Sheeza Shark: Has won 8 of 27 starts but this looks too hard.
- Delightful Dash: Drawn horribly here but is way down in class after recent runs against Smolda and Tiger Tara.
- Better B Amazed: Won 9 of 17 starts so certainly loves the contest. Will be buried on the pegs here and be looking for luck. Place chance only.
- Happy Heidi: Handy sit-sprinter who looks out of its depth here.
- Woodlea DJ: Not going to happen for it today.
- New Years Jay: Super smart mare who is 7 of 14 starts but no placings. Brings male form and is a big chance.
NEW YEARS JAY is very talented having won 7 of 14 starts. She resumed with a 6th to Art Union (Have Faith In Me was 2nd) at Ashburton against the boys and may have needed the run. She won the Summer of Speed Final at Ashburton 4 starts back in 1.54.6 when it circled the feed and took the lead with 800 to go and was effortless to the line. Will only need luck to get through the field here.
LOVETODREAM was $2.70 favourite in the lead up race on Tuesday when 1st up from barrier 14 – a tough ask by any means. Did some work and got to the death seat but could only manage 4th. Fitter and a better draw here makes it a real winning chance.
LIGHTNING MACH was the victor in that race. Ambled to the lead by Dexter Dunn after 400m and from there it was a cakewalk. Got home in 55.5 its last 800m and they were never catching her from there.
TINTINARA is a very smart one with 6 wins and 8 placings from 14 starts. Resumed with an easy kill at Forbury Park where she led and won hard held by nearly 10m. If she gets a soft trip from here she can show her brilliant sprint.
Recent winners include:
2014 – Christen Me
2013 – Pembrook Benny
2012 – Gold Ace
2011 – Smoken Up
2010 – Monkey King
Runner & Comment:
- Sky Major: Things never really panned out for it in the cup from a horror draw, punctured a tyre as well. Back to the mobile, sprint journey and a good draw means this guy is a big chance.
- Mossdale Conner: Terrific run with a good trip for 3rd in the cup. Can run into the placings.
- Bit Of A Legend: Was pretty good when 2nd to Have Faith In Me in the Junior FFA on Cup day, this is a big step up in class and midfield is best.
- Tiger Tara: Never a chance when always well back in running in the Cup. Comes back to a good draw here and I expect it to be very hard to beat.
- No Doctor Needed: Ran as expected when 9th in the Cup. Expect similar again.
- Choise Achiever: Former smart horse but is past its prime. 10th in the cup and won’t improve here.
- Corzin Terror: Australian who ran Ok without luck in the Cup for 8th. Tough draw today means he’s a place chance at best.
- Arden Rooney: Hail the cup winner and Kerryn Manning! Tough effort when pinged the tapes on Tuesday. Slowed them up in the first half to then outstay them late. Much tougher today but cup winners usually hold their form for this race.
- Smolda: A tragedy beaten on Tuesday in the Cup. Galloped out and lost close to 30m before circumnavigating the field to sit outside the leader (and winner) for the last lap. Went down fighting like a true champion. Shocker of a draw here is the only hurdle.
- Messini: Super brave in defeat in the Cup when stuck in the death (where it doesn’t like to be) for the first half of the race. Battled away well for 5th. Is a tiny horse who puts its head down and tries his guts out. Big chance from the trailing draw.
- Lewy Risk: 4th at Kaikoura in a much easier race. Can’t win.
- Franco Nelson: What a run in the Cup! Was 1st up over the arduous journey when it loomed up to win but condition gave out. Has won 7 of 10 starts at the distance and is a place chance.
- Ohoka Punter: Disappointing on paper in the Cup but may have had excuses. Classy horse but will need to produce a career best from the draw.
The bridesmaid to the Cup is the FFA run on the Friday but rest assured it’s still a Group 1 and for those that didn’t get into the very slow early pace of the race on Tuesday it is a chance to atone and bask in Group 1 glory.
We pointed out on Tuesday that SKY MAJOR was a huge risk from the draw/tapes/distance and that proved correct. Back to the sprint here and from the gun draw he can show his explosive speed. Can lead here or take a trail so has options. I’ve marked him favourite.
SMOLDA‘s run was enormous on Tuesday. Galloped out and lost the best part of 30m, then circled the field and sat in the death going to war with Arden Rooney for the last lap. The damage was done early though and Smolda went down fighting. Will need luck from this draw but has explosive speed with the right run.
TIGER TARA just never got into it from the draw in the Cup, always toward the end of the field but did run on Ok for 6th. I fancied it in the Cup and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it try and grab the lead today. A huge winning chance.
ARDEN ROONEY added another Cup to its already full trophy cabinet and Kerryn Manning pretty much matched the efforts of Michelle Payne by becoming the first female to win the Cup. Has good early speed and will probably go forward again and try and make this sprint a staying test. Like Caulfield Cup winners into Melbourne Cup’s, NZ Cup winners usually back up and go well in the FFA. A chance but today I’m risking him.
MESSINI went enormous in the cup when stuck in the death for the first lap. It’s not that type of horse and it did well to hang on for 5th. A huge chance here as it gets the perfect trailing draw behind Sky Major and can show its short sharp sprint here.
Best of luck!
The Harness Pro