Day At The Track

Cup of mystery

09:46 AM 10 Nov 2018 NZDT
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Lazarus,Harness racing
Lazarus winning the New Zealand Cup

Wow.....where do we start with the 2018 Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup?

As the second leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the Kiwi feature is steeped in tradition after first being staged back in 1904 when Monte Carlo proved victorious while many great names line the pages of history.

And another great pacer will etch their name into the record books on the famous second Tuesday in November at Addington.

The build-up has been intense and absolutely relentless as we draw closer to the 3200m stand start feature.

The early scratchings of Australian star Chicago Bull and local ace Ultimate Machete have only added to the pre-race drama.

In fact, the race has seen more moves than a 1980’s disco dance floor!

And so many questions need to be answered.

All the normal types like who has the Best Stamina? Endurance? Willingness? Desire? And Hunger?

But what about answers to the following;

Can the All Stars win another Cup? The Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen combination has won 3 of the last 4 editions (Lazarus x 2 & Adore Me) and this year is represented by Thefixer, Cruz Bromac, Eamon Maguire and Dream About Me.

Can Dream About Me become the latest mare to claim the Cup? The last mare to score in the Cup came from this stable with Adore Me triumphant four years ago.

At this point, Dream About Me is the only mare starting in the Cup although Queen Bee Bardon is listed as the third emergency.

Thefixer is facing the starter for only the 16th time, only Mainland Banner has had less starts prior to winning the Cup (it was her 12th start).

Can the All Stars prepare the trifecta in the Cup? Back in 2016, they prepared 1st, 3rd & 4th (Lazarus, Titan Banner & Smolda).

The biggest number of starters in a New Zealand Cup from All Stars is five (2012).

Respected trainer Robert Dunn has the biggest representation in the Cup with five starters; he will gear up Alta Orlando, Captain Dolmio, Letspendanitetogetha, Billy Badger and Zadaka.

Can he train his second winner of the event? Dunn scored with wonder mare Mainland Banner back in 2005.

Can Ricky May score a record 8th Cup victory when he partners the Greg and Nina Hope trained A G’s White Socks?

The next best is Cecil Devine who won 6 Cups.

Can Aussie raider Tiger Tara join the likes of Steel Jaw, (My) Lightning Blue and Arden Rooney as an Australian trained winner of the Cup?

Prepared by Sydney horseman Kevin Pizzuto, the $1.59 million earner will be handled by regular reinsman Todd McCarthy who is taking his 3rd Cup drive.

Now an eight-year-old, Can Tiger Tara join Monkey King (2010) as the most recent winner of the Cup at that age?

Tiger Tara is starting in his 4th Cup.

Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy is chasing his 4th Cup victory and will partner the highly regarded Auckland trained Star Galleria for trainer Steve Reid.

Can Barry Purdon train his 4th Cup winner when Jack’s Legend takes his spot in the Cup? If successful, it will be his 1st outright victory after preparing his trio of winners in partnership with his legendary father Roy.

Can Zachary Butcher (Jack’s Legend) join his father David (Changeover – 2008) as a Cup winning driver?

Oddly, Changeover (Geoff Small) was the most recent North Island trained winner of the Cup.

Can Natalie Rasmussen (Thefixer), Sam Ottley (Forgotten Highway) or Sheree Tomlinson (Locharburn) join Kerryn Manning as a female winning driver of the Cup?

Can super sire Bettors Delight claim his 5th Cup after winning the past 4 editions?

This year, the record breaking stallion is represented by Thefixer, Dream About Me, Jack’s Legend, Forgotten Highway & Tiger Tara.

Can 1998 Cup winner Christian Cullen produce his 2nd winner (Mainland Banner – 2005)? The wonder horse is represented by Locharburn and Baileys Knight (2nd emergency).

Interestingly, the horse that has claimed the title of APG Grand Circuit champion for the past two seasons has won the Cup…..the one and only Lazarus!

So, all this and more will make sense late on Tuesday afternoon.

Because then, at 5.12pm Local time, it will be time for answers.

 

Chris Barsby

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