Day At The Track

Temporale gets his chance

08:34 AM 24 Dec 2018 NZDT
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Tony Herlihy,Harness racing
Tony Herlihy and Temporale

Tony Herlihy isn't exactly sure how well Temporale is racing but he is determined to find out at Cambridge today.

This time last year the rangy trotter was the best in the country, winning both the Lyell Creek Stakes and National Trot before a growth spurt saw him struggle to carry that momentum through the autumn.

He returned looking back to his best this season but after a slight virus pre New Zealand Cup meeting he has looked like a V8 racing on six cylinders since.

Trainer-driver Herlihy says part of that battle has been Temporale getting poor draws which has seen him settle well off arch rival Lemond, or in the case of his last start both Lemond and a rampant Marcoola.

But in today's $50,000 Trotters Flying Mile, the centrepiece of today's twilight meeting, Temporale has the draw to change that script.

"I think he gets a chance to go forward this time and be closer to the speed, maybe even in front," says Herlihy.

"He might not have looked that impressive recently but I think he is going all right, it is just very hard when you get back against those good horses.

"So this race looks his chance."

Of the horses drawn inside Temporale today The Almighty Johnson looks to have the best gate speed and he would almost certainly hand the lead to his stablemate, but even more importantly Lemond is drawn outside Temporale.

When the pair meet it is usually the one who gets the better run that wins so while Lemond has the superior form lately, Temporale looks the better bet today.

If there is to be an upset, and this race has had its share over the years, then Massive Metro looks the emerging trotter. He made good ground late for fifth behind Marcoola last start in a race where he didn't have any luck and if he could hold the front at least early from the ace he has the raw speed to be competitive.

Today's other feature looks the perfect opportunity for Utmost Delight to get back to winning form on the track where she won the Jewels last winter. She has been solid when asked to give Dream About Me a start from bad draws in the mares' races at Alexandra Park recently but drops enormously in class for race seven today, a leg of the $40,000 terminating Pick6.

Trainer Steven Reid only put Utmost Delight in today's race because he believes she needs race fitness heading into next Monday's Auckland Cup but he would have been pleasantly surprised by the conditions.

Not only has she only had to cop a 35m backmark but she only has five rivals, and with 2700m to get either handy or around them she is clearly the one to beat, with whoever out of stablemates Check In or Step Up can get to the front being the one she has to catch.

 

Michael Guerin

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