Besotted’s battle for a New Zealand Cup spot may not end at Alexandra Park tonight but it could become a hell of a lot easier.
The emerging open class talent will look to repeat his victory in an almost identical field last Friday in tonight’s handicap pace to boost his chances of making Addington’s great race on November 12.
And while a win tonight will not guarantee him that NZ Cup invite, trainer Ray Green knows it will make life a lot more comfortable.
Besotted sits 20th in the rankings for the Cup but two of those inside the top 15 --- Bitobliss and Caribbean Blaster --- are almost certain to pull out.
That leaves Besotted 18th with one or two others ahead of him still doubtful. So he is right on the Cup cusp.
If he wins tonight he could sneak into the top 15 and with only a handful of lead-up races to go and with most of them likely to be dominated by big names already in the Cup, Besotted could be heading to Addington.
“I’d love to go south with him next week knowing we are in the 15 and have to lose our way out of it,” says Green.
“That would be a lot easier than heading to a race like the Flying Stakes at Ashburton needing to place to make our way into the Cup.
“So this week is very important and he is ready for it.” Besotted was aggressively driven by Maurice McKendry to dominate last Friday’s race from the front and while he had to win after controlling the mid-race tempo, Green is adamant a faster race would have seen the same result.
Only Jarcullembra, who stormed home from last last week, looks likely to improve enough to test Besotted but with his fitness advantage the latter should win and snare that crucial Cup spot.
He could be the centrepiece of a huge night for Green, who is taking five horses to the races tonight, all with good chances.
His exceptional filly Lincoln’s Megastar has the draw and speed to win her $15,000 Dunstan Speed Series Final, even against some speedy older mares.
“She was great last week and will be just as good this week. She should blow their doors off,” says Green matter-of-factly.
His night starts with Hawkeye Bromac in the Sires’ Stakes heat and he could test favourite Bettor Offer, even though the latter beat him last Friday.
“We had a harder run and it took him the length of the straight to get passed us,” said Green.
Bettor Offer should improve though as it was his first run for the season and drawn the ace he has a tactical advantage.
Medley Moose returns for Green in race two and his trainer high hopes for him, slightly tempered by his draw tonight.
“He could be at the mercy of those in front of him and he will improve with the run.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he won but wouldn’t be too disappointed if he couldn’t. But he is one to follow for sure.” And talented filly Imhisdaughter has the right draw in race four but comes up against some handy male pacers, which is usually tricky for a three-year-old filly.
“She never goes a bad race so she will be in the finish but it is hard to beat the boys.”
The trotting mares speed final looks a match-race between Duchess Diedre and Be Seein Ya, who won the controversial abandoned heat of this series last Friday.
And breeding buffs should keep an eye on Love Ya Doosie, a half-sister to I Can Doosit, who makes her debut in race five.
By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)