Friday night sees the running of the Group 3 $25,000 Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington Raceway, the first feature race of the season at harness headquarters.
The Maurice Holmes Vase is the first of three races at Addington where the winner of each race isguaranteed a start in the Group 1 $650,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday 12 November. The Group 3 Avon City Ford Cup and Group 2 Glenferrie Farm Canterbury Classic are the second and third legs of the treble scheduled to run on 27 September and 11 October respectively.
Friday’s Maurice Holmes Vase has drawn a select field of 10 that includes some of the South Island’smore tightly assessed pacers, as well as an invader from the North. The Ray Green of Huapai trained Besotted returns to New Zealand from an impressive Breeders Crown campaign in Australia and has opened as the early favourite.
He won’t have it all his own way though, with last year’s “Vase” winner Franco Ledger resuming as well as proven open class performers Highview Tommy and Choise Achiever having their first starts for the season.
Throw in the bang-in-form pair of Pemberton Shard and Mach Banner, the capable Four Starzzz Flash, southern visitor Phantom Grin, former Derby winner Captain Peacock and good race mare Better To Be Bad and a talented field heads to the post.
No doubt every runner in this field will want to put their best hoof forward and be greeted in thewinner’s circle by their connections at around 8.40pm, knowing they have gained a start in New Zealand’s holy grail on the second Tuesday of November.
The other highlight on the night is the return to the racetrack of the mighty trotter Stig. He goes to the post at 7.20pm and will be looking to make it win 24 against a fine field of trotters that includes The Fiery Ginga, Sovereignty and Stylish Monarch.
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