Day At The Track

Alford has a plan to win the Chariots

03:08 PM 14 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Poster Boy
Chris Alford and the Emma Stewart trained Poster Boy
Stuart McCormack photo

AUSTRALIA’S most successful driver says he doesn’t fear the country’s most exciting pacer in Saturday’s $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle.

 And Chris Alford says he even has a surprising plan how to beat Ignatius with Victorian star Poster Boy.

 Ignatius started the week as the TAB favourite for Saturday night’s great four-year-old mile but has lost that honour to Chase Auckland, even after he sat parked outside him and beat him last Saturday.

 That would seem to be punters rallying for the Purdon-Rasmussen training factor as well as Chase Auckland having the ace draw.

 But Chris Alford, the most successful harness driver in Australian history with over 6700 wins, says he can beat both of them with Poster Boy.

 The latter has only met Ignatius twice and beaten him both times as well as winning the NSW Derby this time last year.

 Add that to a comeback win over Inter Dominion star Spankem two starts ago and a walk in the park at Melton last Saturday and Poster Boy’s $5.50 bookies quote starts to look inviting.

 One of the reasons for the value is his widish draw at barrier seven but Alford says rather than track Ignatius, who many expect to see parked again, he wants to stay in front of him.

 “I think we are every bit as good as him,” he offers.

 “And we are drawn inside him so my first plan would be to stay in front of him.

“This has always been a good horse because he has real speed but now he has developed the stamina to go with it.

 “So he could be in for a very good season.”

The Chariots has gone from being a great four-year-old race to one of the fastest miles run in Australasia every year and the winners now become genuine contenders for the Miracle Mile, as shown by the performances of Have Faith In Me (won Miracle Mile), Lazarus (third) and Jilliby Kung Fu (second) in recent season.

 But whether Poster Boy is ready for a Miracle Mile on March 2 should be win on Saturday will be up to trainer Emma Stewart.

“Emma and Clayton (Tonkin, partner) have a great record at Menangle and they are one of the few stables from down here where the horses don’t need a run on the track before they showed their best up there.

 “Their horses are just so tough and they suit Menangle because their is nowhere to hide.”

Poster Boy is Alford’s only drive on Saturday night but he is confident about the classic chances of Kualoa (NSW Oaks) and Centenario (NSW Derby) in coming weeks.

 

Michael Guerin
 

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