Class-ie act stepping up
‘‘After his first start back, I was worried because sometimes they don’t come back at four, but he’s really starting to show that form he showed at three. Nigel McGrath
Classie Brigade’s meteoric rise through the open class pacing ranks will face its toughest examination to date on Friday night.
The Bettor’s Delight entire is still probably best known as the horse who would trail home Lazarus and Heaven Rocks to pick up a trio of Group I placings as a three-year-old.
But with four wins from his last four starts, the smart pacer is starting to write his own script, with himself as the lead. Trained by Nigel McGrath, Classie Brigade looks a major winning chance in the Group III Summer Cup at Addington.
The Weedons-based trainer knows Classie Brigade has the ability to win, but he is not oozing confidence. He said the race is a step up, but there is now nowhere to hide as a c8 pacer.
‘‘It’s a really good field and I think there a number of horses in there that could win it,’’ McGrath said.
Classie Brigade’s last start win, in the Group III Invercargill Trotting Cup, where he defeated many of the runners he clashes with on Friday night, came in a blistering time of 3:53.5 for the 3200m.
McGrath said Classie Brigade was a little flat for a day or two following the gut busting run back in January, but he is now bright and has been working well. Classie Brigade’s first few runs back this season, following an intense threeyear-old season, were down on his brilliant best. ‘‘After his first start back, I was worried because sometimes they don’t come back at four, but he’s really starting to show that form he showed at three,’’ McGrath said.
If he can hold his current form in the Summer Cup, Classie Brigade will earn a start in the Group I Easter Cup and two more Group I starts at Alexandra Park. At this stage Classie Brigade will head to Auckland for four-year-old races the Messenger and Taylor Mile following the Easter Cup.
‘‘He’s owned in Auckland so it would be nice to see him up there,’’ McGrath said.
The long term plan also involves missing the Harness Jewels and heading to the paddock to prepare for the New Zealand Trotting Cup, but McGrath reinforced that the plan is not set in concrete.
The previous six editions of the Summer Cup have all been won by genuine top-liners with Locharburn, Border Control, Smolda, Terror To Love, De Lovely and Monkey King.