Classic racing awaits punters at Auckland

04:29 AM 07 Mar 2012 NZDT
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Sir Lincoln
Sir Lincoln - He is owned by Lincoln Farms Ltd
Duane Ranger Photo

Auckland Cup night is always a huge night for northern harness racing and this year will be no exception. An even nine-horse field will greet the starter in this year's main event - a race that looks set to confirm a new star of Free-For-All racing in New Zealand.

Sir Lincoln brings the best form into the Group 1 contest, being a regular winner of late and victor of last week's main lead-up race. Pembrook Benny got closest to Sir Lincoln last Friday and had the race been 20 metres longer he would have won.

NZ Cup winner Terror To Love is a head-scratcher in the event. On face value he was below par last week but he did work hard over the last lap of the race and a late check cost him ground also.

The up-and-comers in the race appear to be Gold Ace, Franco Emirate and Mah Sish. All three were creditable in last week's lead-up and promise to be even stronger forces with those runs behind them.

The Woodlands Stud Northern Derby looks like Smolda's to lose after an impressive sequence of wins. He and his stablemates look set to dominate the contest, as the Purdon/Payne stable has a record-equalling five horses lining up in the 13-horse event. In 1993 Roy and Barry Purdon had five starters, taking out the race with Hitchcock. In 2005 Geoff Small also had five runners, with Ambro The Thug finishing second to Monkey King.

In all five Group races will be run on Friday night at 'The Park'. Supporting the Woodlands Stud Northern Derby and Trillian Trust Auckland Cup will be the Gotta Go Cullen Delightful Lady Classic, Auckland Co-op Taxis City of Sails Trot and the Breckon Bloodstock Cardigan Bay Stakes.

Feature Race Selections: Mick Guerin NZ Herald Phil Barber Best Bets Alan Caddy Best Bets Andrew Morris HRNZ Kevin Smith Auckland TC
Northern Derby Race 7, 8:40pm SmoldaIdeal Scott

Scandalman

SmoldaScandalman

Let's Elope

SmoldaScandalman

Let's Elope

SmoldaScandalman

Let's Elope

SmoldaBest Deal Yet

Scandalman

Auckland Cup Race 9, 9:38pm Sir LincolnTerror To Love

Gold Ace

Pembrook BennyFranco Emirate

Sir Lincoln

Pembrook BennyGold Ace

Terror To Love

Franco EmirateMah Sish

Gold Ace

Franco EmirateHighview Tommy

Pembrook Benny

riday's Fast Facts:

  • Sovereignty has finished behind I Can Doosit seven times already this season but has never had a 15m head start on him. I Can Doosit has never won from a handicap of more than 30 metres.
  • Smolda has the pedigree to back up his Northern Derby form. His sire Courage Under Fire won the race in 1998
  • Owners; Phil Kennard, Glenys Kennard and Neil Pilcher have shares in three Derby runners. They are Fly Like An Eagle, Your Good Fortune and Smolda.
  • Terror To Love, Mah Sish and Franco Emirate have the best distance records heading into the Auckland Cup.
  • Five of the nine Auckland Cup starters have won at Group 1 level before. They are Terror To Love, Sir Lincoln, Gold Ace, Franco Emirate and Highview Tommy.
  • Tony Herlihy, the most successful Auckland Cup driver has won the race eight times. He partners Mah Sish in this year's event.
Andrew MORRIS

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