Day At The Track

Bookies have Sky Major as Cup favourite

09:15 AM 05 Nov 2015 NZDT
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Sky Major - Is now the NZ Cup favourite after his win in the Cup trial yesterday
Sky Major - Is now the NZ Cup favourite after his win in the Cup trial yesterday

Barry Purdon's day started poorly but it ended with a big smile.

Sky Major has drawn the second line for Tuesday's $750,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup but things brightened up significantly in his camp after an imposing cup trial at Addington on Wednesday evening.

Purdon and Zac Butcher were all smiles after the multiple Group I winner ran past the field in the final stages of the 2600m trip to win comfortably over Ohoka Punter and No Doctor Needed.

Ohoka Punter and Smolda were the major winners from the barrier draw for New Zealand's premier harness race.

They will start side by side on the front line with Ohoka Punter at four and Smolda five.

But the TAB still moved Sky Major past Smolda as the new favourite after his impressive trial.

Sky Major was moved into $3.20 from $4 with Smolda eased out from $3.50 to $3.70.

Ohoka Punter was moved out to a point to $7.

Purdon and Butcher were more than happy with Sky Major's trial.

"It's been a bit of a slow build up," Purdon said.

"I guess you could say an old fashion one but he's where he needs to be now."

Purdon said Sky Major had came through his run in the Ashburton Flying Stakes with ease.

"He probably needed that run tonight to get him through until next week."

Sky Major looked like he had been for an afternoon stroll when he returned to the stables and Butcher said he hit the line strongly.

Tony Herlihy was happy with the effort of Ohoka Punter who will be a player on Tuesday if he gets an ounce of luck in the running.

Australian pacer Corzin Terror led up for most of the trip before falling back behind the front three with Purdon's second runner Lancewood Lizzie in just a five horse field.

Canterbury Classic winner Tiger Tara is the biggest loser from the barrier draw.

He drew 12 but when third emergency Lewy Risk comes out he will shift into the inside of the second line and follow out No Doctor Needed.

Meanwhile, despite reports Australian driver Chris Alford was confirmed to travel across the Tasman to drive Messini, that could change.

Natalie Rasmussen will have her injured elbow re-x-rayed later this week and if the results are positive she will look to be back driving on cup day and that would likely include driving Messini.

She suffered the injury in race day crash at Methven last month.

Sires Stakes favourite Lazarus was missing from the trials but will start from his tricky second line draw in the Group I on Tuesday.

Mark Purdon confirmed the $1.80 favourite would definitely be starting on Tuesday.

Christen Me was removed from the cup field on Monday and two days later he has officially been withdrawn from the Inter Dominion field along with stablemate Mighty Flying Mac.

Trainer Cran Dalgety is vowing Christen Me, last season's horse of the year, will be back to his best in the future.

Monbet ran a super trial in the lead up to the Group I NZ Free-For-All at Addington on Wednesday.

After working around the field in the running line without cover, Ricky May let the Greg and Nina Hope trained trotter go in the straight and he exploded away from the field.

New Zealand Trotting Cup field: No Doctor Needed 1, Franco Nelson 2, Lancewood Lizzie 3, Ohoka Punter 4, Smolda 5, Mossdale Conner 6, Te Kawau 7, Arden Rooney 8, Messini 9, Lewy Risk 10 (E3), Brilliant Strike 11, Tiger Tara 12, Corzin Terror 13, Mighty Flying Mac 14, Sky Major 15, Choise Achiever 16, Mach's Gladiator 17 (E2), Quick As A Trick 18 (E1).

Mat Kermeen

Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

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