Day At The Track

Who wins the Flying Stakes?

08:04 AM 28 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Ashburton,Harness racing

Sorting out the Ashburton Flying Stakes on Monday is a challenge. Even for the All Stars stable drivers.

An unprecedented seven runners in the race, not an ideal for the stable, means a lot of questions and not so many answers.

Spankem being restored to the front line; Chase Auckland going on to the unruly; Ultimate Sniper’s standing start record and the exciting potential of Self Assured are just a few of the talking points around the race.

So what do the team think ?

Nobody knows for sure.

Mark says he still favours Spankem.

“Being back on the front and with his starting manners it does help his chances”

Natalie is aware of Ultimate Sniper’s recent hesitation of standing starts but feels she has the answer.

She was very pleased with his final workout on Saturday though Tony Herlihy takes the reins on Monday.

“He is a horse who likes to pace in a race with a low head carriage but it doesn’t help him at the start. I’ve made a little adjustment there and I think it will do the trick.

“It is not as if he is making big errors. He comes down after a few strides. But he could be better and I think he will be”

“I can’t really say how it will turn out. Much will depend on the start of course. It wasn’t the race we were thinking about before the fields were decided”

Tim is wary of Chase Auckland having to start from the unruly but fully supports the decision made for the longer term.

“Natalie and Mark discussed it with me and their logic is right. It will not help him in this race but looking ahead to the New Zealand Cup it is the right move”

“There is a bit more excitement on Cup Day and if he draws two or three for example and starts to get on the toe the chance of him making a clean start are not great. At Methven he showed that standing on his own helps his chances.

He can do it from anywhere when all is right but you don’t want to lose your Cup chance right at the start and this will help him

Self Assured of course is the horse everyone is talking about. He has only had the one run back but it was a cracking effort and Blair, unexpectedly, gets a second crack.

“He is good enough to win and he is a laid back guy who doesn’t worry about too much” Mark says.

However he says speculation about a possible NZ Cup tilt if he won was just that.

“There are no plans to make a late entry for the Cup”he said.

As always Thefixer is the apple cart upsetter.

He worked strongly on Saturday and while he goes on from this race given his spring setbacks, he is so competitive and such a complete racehorse he is always a threat. Natalie remains loyal and that in itself is a pointer to a big race.

Another Masterpiece, Matthew Williamson’s drive, could cause some concern to rivals too.

He caught the eye with his first up run and while he will obviously improve again he could easily fill a hole in a talented field like this.

Of the other runners on the day Mark feels the draw gives Pur Dan the edge over Roll The Dice whose latest run was a much improved effort.

“Pur Dan went a good race last time and I feel he has the advantage here”

Mark is confident about Oscar Bonavena as might be expected but not sure about how Winterfell will go in the Flying Mile.

“He can be an unpredictable horse at any time. Some days he will work around here like a star and then then next time he goes out he doesn’t feel the same horse. I have worked him on the straight track today for that reason. He is certainly competitive if he turns up with his best game but he can be a little hard to read at times"


Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

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