Jack’s Leg­end best chance for north at Alex Park

The New Zealand Herald - - RACING - Michael Guerin

If the north has any chance of mak­ing a dent in the New Zealand Trot­ting Cup they need to win tonight’s Holmes DG at Alexan­dra Park.

Only four north­ern­ers are still in con­tention for the Cup at Ad­ding­ton on Novem­ber 14 — Jack’s Leg­end, No Doc­tor Needed, Maxim and Hug The Wind — and all four con­test tonight’s $20,000 fea­ture named in hon­our of late ATC pres­i­dent Kerry Hog­gard.

They are up against two Can­ter­bury raiders in The­fixer and Cash N Flow, who wouldn’t be con­sid­ered in the top six horses from the All Stars sta­ble so if the north­ern­ers can’t beat them tonight, es­pe­cially with the ad­van­tage of race fit­ness, then it is hard to make a case for them be­ing re­al­is­tic play­ers come New Zealand Cup day.

The Cantabs ar­rive north with big rep­u­ta­tions, im­pres­sive strike rates and in Cash N Flow’s case a bril­liant Alexan­dra Park record but they haven’t raced this sea­son whereas ri­vals like No Doc­tor Needed and Hug The Wind are fully fit af­ter four starts this cam­paign.

But for all that, Jack’s Leg­end may be the north’s best chance tonight and the horse to beat. He al­ready has group one win­ning form in last sea­son’s Jewels and only peaked late when third fresh up two weeks ago.

Trainer Barry Pur­don is pleased with how the four-year-old has pro­gressed since and is hop­ing a faster get­away tonight en­ables him to make the most of his front line draw.

“That would be ideal, if he can get away and stay handy but he will be bet­ter than last start and I was happy enough with him then,” says Pur­don.

Pur­don also has Hug The Wind in tonight’s race and the Auck­land Cup placeget­ter needs to lift a level to stay on track for a prom­i­nent Cup ef­fort af­ter rac­ing a level be­low his best, ad­mit­tedly with­out a great deal of luck, this cam­paign.

The south­ern pair of The­fixer and Cash N Flow are on a par fit­ness-wise ac­cord­ing to trainer Mark Pur­don but he ex­pects both to im­prove af­ter their sea­sonal de­buts. Still, they have gen­uine class on their side so ei­ther could win with­out sur­pris­ing.

Barry Pur­don holds a huge hand in race nine tonight with three of the favourites but opts for Rap­tors Flight as his best hope. “He was strong to the line in his last race and can keep on win­ning,” says Pur­don.

Pur­don is also con­fi­dent Ac­cu­mu­la­tor can turn the ta­bles on Ital­ian De­light in race four af­ter look­ing likely to beat him last week at Cam­bridge be­fore a late gal­lop.

“I wasn’t sure he was go­ing to beat him last week but the boys tell me the an­gle was de­cep­tive and he was a neck in front when he bob­bled so he has to be hard to beat this week.”

While the open class ac­tion is at Alexan­dra Park tonight the har­ness race of the week­end do­mes­ti­cally is the Methven Cup on Sun­day where Dream About Me is a sur­prise en­try against Ti­tan Ban­ner, with Classie Bri­gade kick­ing off his New Zealand Cup cam­paign.

And at Mel­ton to­mor­row night Kiwi pacer Field Mar­shal faces a sec­ond line draw in the A$200,000 Vic­to­ria Cup, a draw made even worse by hot favourite Len­nythe­shark start­ing from the ace.

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