Day At The Track

Nek Time set for a tough time

06:49 PM 19 May 2016 NZST
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Nek Time

Nek Time has done everything to justify her booming reputation but will need to go to the next level at Addington on Saturday. The smart filly gets her first Harness Racing Group I start of the season in the New Zealand Oaks when she takes on the All Stars star trio.

Co-trainers Terry and Glenys Chmiel knew there was something special about Nek Time from the time she walked into their Leeston stable but the Group II Southland Oaks and Listed Harness 5000 winner faces her toughest test of the season in the Oaks.

This season Nek Time has been cutting out times and performances the Chmiels always knew she was capable but the Mark Purdon​​ and Natalie Rasmussen-trained trio of Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess, who made up the trifecta in last Saturday's Group I Nevele R final, are a much tougher prospect.

Drawing barrier 13 has not stopped bookmakers opening Dream About Me a $1.75 favourite with Golden Goddess (barrier two) at $2.60 and Piccadilly Princess (barrier 12) $5.50.

"They do look like exceptional fillies and will take a power of beating," Terry Chmiel said.

Nek Time, who did not race in the Nevele R, is a $26 chance from her outside draw of barrier eight.

"If we could run in the top five from that draw we would be over the moon."

But there is some cause for confidence that Nek Time could be the biggest danger to a All Stars trifecta.

The Gotta Go Cullect​ filly, who races in the colours of owners Robert and Sharyn Symon, has not been sighted on race day since her Southland Oaks win (April 17) but has been active at the trials.

"Her last two trials have been really good and her works been very consistent," Chmiel said.

In her most recent trial on at Motukarara (May 9), Nek Time sprinted home from last at the bend to run into a close fourth behind Christen Me.

She was good enough to run against the likes of Dream About Me in Group I company at two and finish fourth in the Harness Jewels, but Chmiel said there is no comparison to where Nek Time is at now.

"She's grown a lot and she's really come on this season, she looks super," Chmiel said.

This season, the ultra consistent filly has been a revelation with five wins and five placings in just 12 starts.

Chmiel believes the tough filly's best chance in the Oaks is if someone goes really hard off the front line and pushes the speed early.

"If they go 3:09 or 3:10 it will be right up her alley, anything around a 1:53 mile rate will suit her," Chmiel said.

He expects Nek Time's driver Dexter Dunn to look to slot in around mid field.

"You can't go right back because once you are behind them (Dream About Me and Piccadilly Princess) you will never get it back so hopefully he can slot in somewhere and maybe move before them."

Following Saturday's run in the Oaks, Nek Time will head north for the Harness Jewels (June 4).

Nek Time, the New Zealand record holder for a filly or mare from a 2400m mobile (2:53.00), is an $18 chance in the pre-barrier Jewels market.

Presuming she comes through that run in good order, Nek Time is likely to head to Queensland for the $20,000 Gold Coast Oaks (July 2) as a lead up to the Group I $75,000 Queensland Oaks seven days later.

Mat Keermen

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