Day At The Track

Christen Me stands out for punters

07:25 AM 03 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Christen Me
Christen Me

The scratching of key rival Easy On The Eye has all but handed Christen Me tonight's $60,000 Flying Mile at Cambridge - on two counts.

While the superstar pacer would have been a hot favourite even with Easy On The Eye in the race, the Pukekohe pacer's withdrawal has made life much easier.

If Christen Me still has one obvious Achilles heel it is his nervousness in tight surroundings, especially at high speed.

So having a brilliant beginner like Easy On The Eye pushing down on him at breakneck speed in the short run into the first bend at Cambridge might have been enough to make Christen Me think twice about life.

Easy On The Eye is a noted front runner, who might have been happy to stay in front and park Christen Me, a position few open-class miles are won from.

Those concerns disappeared for Christen Me fans when trainer Steven Reid scratched Easy On The Eye.


"He is clearly not right," says Reid.

"He was never really travelling at the Park the other day [Tuesday], even before he galloped that shadow, which he would normally never do.

"So, he can have a small break and get ready for Auckland Cup time."

That leaves Christen Me with just four rivals and the likelihood of running straight to the front and winning easily.

"To be honest it wouldn't have bothered me if he had had to sit parked because he is that well I think he still could have won," says his trainer Cran Dalgety.

"But if we are lucky enough to run to the front now then all the better."

Dalgety says Christen Me worked superbly earlier this week at Pukekohe and has taken no harm from a torrid start to the season.

As a 1:50.5 miler who finished second in the Miracle Mile two starts ago, he looks the Pick6 anchor tonight and anything but a decisive victory will raise huge doubts over his favouritism for the Inter Dominions in March.

Bettor Cover Lover now looks the most likely trailer and therefore the quinella hope, although Pembrook Benny was awesome at Alexandra Park on Tuesday and if he gets the right sort of run, or is even launched to the lead early, he could be the closest chaser.

While the Flying Mile looks a done-deal, the main trot has a few more layers to it.

Irish Whisper was tough winning the National Trot at Alexandra Park on Tuesday and deserves favouritism but he is still not bulletproof and local hero Sovereignty has the gate speed to put himself in the right place early.

Victory for him would be appropriate as he is owned by one of the greats of New Zealand harness racing in Charlie Hunter, whose 80th birthday tonight's race celebrates.

Horses spilling over from the just-finished Auckland carnival will be the key runners tonight, starting with Duchess Diedre chasing a Harness Plus bonus in race one.

While local Mista Mara is the logical favourite in race seven, punters should include Windinherhair, who comes in beautifully tonight, having being reassessed to class four and also receiving a 10m mares' allowance. She has taken on Franco Nelson and Adore Me her past two starts so only has to handle the stand to test Mista Mara.

Onlyforyou, who has been luckless for the past month, looks a good each-way chance against the Purdon-Rasmussen pair of Sabellian and Whisper Jet in race nine.

Courtesy of Michael Guerin and the New Zealand Herald



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