Day At The Track

Mikayla Lewis ready to make a mark

07:24 AM 24 Aug 2018 NZST
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Mikayla Lewis
HRNZ photo

Concession driver Mikayla Lewis has helped former group one winner Mach Shard sneak into the perfect comeback race at Alexandra Park tonight.

Now she just has to help him overcome a tricky draw in his first start for nearly a year.
Mach Shard was a top juvenile who missed most of last season as he kept growing and weakened off.

But he has lost none of his raw ability judging by a pair of recent workout wins and Barry Purdon says the now four-year-old is as ready to win as any of his stable can be without a lead-up race, with the master trainer never one to screw his horses right down at the trials.

"I am really happy with where he is at and with Mikayla claiming he gets into an ideal race," says Purdon.

"The draw won't be easy to overcome but Mikayla has driven five winners from not a lot of drives and works here so has driven him in his work.

"So I think he will go very close, although it is never easy fresh up with horses in this grade."

If Lewis can get any sort of tow into the race, Mach Shard might be too sharp but with race fit opponents who are ready to pace 2:40-2:42 for the 2200m mobile, these races are always tricky so taking short odds is not advised.

But short odds are all that will be on offer for stablemate Dream Major when he makes his debut in race four.

He has looked very talented at recent workouts and Purdon rates him a genuine Sires' Stakes contender in a few weeks. With in-form Zachary Butcher in the sulky he should win his debut. "I like him and he got off the gate well enough at the workouts last weekend to suggest he can use his draw."

Meanwhile, Purdon is happy with last season's New Zealand Cup runner-up Jacks Legend as he prepares to return to the workouts in two weeks and as one of the best-performed survivors from last season's group one pacing classics he could be in for a lucrative five-year-old season.


Michael Guerin


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