Bookies now rate the New Zealand Trotting Cup a straight two-horse race.
The disintegration of the Australian challenge this week, which has seen I’m Themightyquinn withdrawn and Caribbean Blaster improving but surely still doubtful, has bookies Australasia-wide giving only two pacers a chance in the classic.
So much so that favourite Christen Me has got into a scarcely believable $1.70 to win the Cup with one Australian bookmaker, and even the New Zealand TAB has him paying just $2.20 even 25 days out from the race.
Terror To Love’s punters can get a best price of $3, with the NZ TAB moving him into $2.80 after Aussie news broke.
To have a New Zealand Cup market so dominated by two horses so far out from the race is extremely rare but the glamour pair have distance their rivals in their two starts so far this season.
They clash again in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on Monday week and trainer Cran Dalgety warns Christen Me will be better there than when he won at Addington last Friday.
“I actually had to let up on him leading into last week because he was pretty screwed down,” said Dalgety.
“So I eased up on him to let him body loosen off a bit so I was surprised he could win so well after working so hard.
“But we are starting to step things up again and he will be sharper at Ashburton.”
Dalgety says the superstar pacer is sound and healthy and he just hopes he can maintain that between now and November 12.
“Those top Aussies not coming in a shame for the race but it probably helps us.
“Still, we have a long way to go because they don’t just give the NZ Cup away. I know, because I’ve never won one.”
By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)