Day At The Track

Auckland Cup pacers boast $12.2m in purses

12:06 AM 06 Mar 2013 NZDT
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Themightyquinn gets a big kiss The Auckland Trotting Club's
Themightyquinn gets a big kiss - from driver Gary Hall Jr while Dad (trainer) looks on.
The Auckland Trotting Club's - racing manager, Kevin Smith.
Duane Ranger photo

The Auckland Trotting Club's racing manager Kevin Smith is delighted with both the quality and quantity of the fields for the club's premier harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park on Friday night (March 8).

Smith said that with a five-day turn around from the 2013 Interdominion grand final in Sydney last Sunday, he was especially thrilled to have both the current Interdom and New Zealand Cup champions in the $250,000 Auckland Cup.

"To get quality fields like we have, especially so soon after the Interdominion Final, is a real bonus for the club. In saying that horses these days can handle a flight like they do a float trip.

"It's a credit to the owners and trainers of top pacers like Themightyquinn, Terror To Love, Victorious and Bettor Cover Lover for getting them back here in time for our big race.

"It will be great to host Themightyquinn here again. He is a true champion and loves our track. He's won an Interdom title and the Auckland Cup here, and is going to be very tough to beat again," Smith told Harnesslink.

A maximum field of 13 will face starter Colin Courtney in Friday's Group One feature, with the scratching of Mah Sish and Let's Elope allowing Tyler Maguire into the field.

She will be driven by Gene Robb, who drove his first winner in two years at Alexandra Park yesterday (Tuesday), after being suspended for almost two years.

The Trillian Trust Auckland Cup field boasts two Australians - the Michael Brennan trained Victorious, and the Gary Hall Sr trained champion Themightyquinn - who is one of the world's richest pacers, having won 47 of his 96 starts and a whopping NZ$5,106,990.

Former Australian pacer hero Blacks A Fake won 72 of his 105 starts and NZ$5,642,942.

Collectively the 13 runners in Friday's Cup have won 218 races between them and a staggering NZ$12,222,271.

"I think those figures tell the story," Smith said.

Thirteen starters will also line up in the Group One $250,000 Woodlands Northern Derby on Friday.

"We have three Derby horses - Ohoka Punter, Franco Nelson, and Adore Me who are all champions in their own right.

"It is good to see a filly line up against the colts and geldings. Mark (Purdon - trainer) would not be lining up Adore Me if he didn't think she was up to it.

"He's a master horseman and he would have got a good gauge on her against some of the better ones he has in his stable. Mark wouldn't expose her if she wasn't up to it," stressd Smith.

The Northern Derby (race 7) starts at 9.10pm with the Auckland Cup (race 8) kicking off a race later at 9.40pm. A terminating Pick6 worth $100,000 will be operating.

Imthemightyquinn and Adore Me are the $2.40 and $2.60 favourites respectively.

The New Zealand TAB odds and drivers for the Auckland Cup are:

1 Terror To Love, Ricky May $3; 2 Easy On The Eye, Peter Ferguson $15; 3 Pembrook Benny, Zac Butcher (J) $16; 4 Tyler Maguire, Gene Robb $201;

5 Fly Like An Eagle, Mark Purdon $17; 6 Highview Tommy, Blair Orange $41; 7 Sleepy Tripp, Dexter Dunn $61; 8 Themightyquinn, Gary Hall $2.40;

9 Jarcullembra, David Butcher $18; 10 Franco Ledger, Hamish Hunter $15; 11 Victorious, Justin Prentice $16; 12 Mah Sish scratched; 13 Gold Ace,Tony Herlihy $15;

14 Bettor Cover Lover, Brent Mangos $17; 15 Lets Elope scratched.

The New Zealand TAB odds and drivers for the Northern Derby are:

1 Border Control, Natalie Rasmussen, $8.50; 2 Ida Tiger scratched; 3 Mossdale Conner, Ricky May $26; 4 Franco Nelson, Craig D Thornley $4.50;

5 Cillas Boy, Maurice McKendry $51; 6 Ohoka Punter, Tony Herlihy $3.20; 7 Cyamach, Scott Phelan $51; 8 Classiesistar, Mark Jones $18;

9 Five Card Draw, Zac Butcher $18; 10 Robyn's Raider scratched; 11 The Bucket List, David Butcher $31.00; 12 Norvic Nightowl, James Stormont $61;

13 Royal Mach, Blair Orange $41.00; 14 Adore Me, Mark Purdon $2.60.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

Themightyquinn winning the 2011 Auckland Cup - can the Kiwi bred pacer repeat the dose on Friday?

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