New Zealand Cup Day
I've been incredibly fortunate to attend some amazing sporting events.
LSU v Alabama in front of 103,000 at Death Valley. The Ashes between Australia and England. AFL Grand Finals, of course, I was even lucky enough to participate in one of those. I saw Winx's third and most thrilling Cox Plate.
But, for an avid Harness Racing man like I am, the New Zealand Trotting Cup in Christchurch takes the cake.
In 2017, I went across to the Shaky Isles with my wife and her parents - who are both Harness horse breeders and have raced many horses across a couple of decades.
We witnessed the great Lazarus claim his second consecutive Cup victory in stunning dominance. It was such a memorable and amazing day. For the uninitiated, walking on track at Addington on a normal (they can only have 1,200 fans today due to COVID) is a unique experience.
20,000 spectators pile into Addington Raceway as the city of Christchurch takes a public holiday to enjoy the trotting cup.
For the most part, harness racing takes a backseat to thoroughbred racing but in New Zealand, this day tops them all.
Today's 12-race card looks an absolute beauty from a betting point of view.
Here's how I am playing. Best wishes to all...
RACE 1: (16) American Pride $2.40 - Peaking at the right time. It's always risky to kick things off with a serious bet in a standing start trot race with a horse off 20m handicap but this 5YO is in fine form.
RACE 5: (1) TAIPO $5.50 + (3) SHAN NOBLE $3.80 - I'm happy to take on KRUG. He's a special colt but he's had a massive season or so and he's been racing low on confidence. They say they're going forward at all costs so it may set things up for either TAIPO or SHAN NOBLE. Back them both and take the profits.
RACE 6: (9) IT'S ALL ABOUT FAITH $7.50 each way - I've struggled to catch this guy for the most part but his price dictates us having a play today. He's a Group 1 winner and was an expensive yearling purchase so we know the ingreidents are there.
Back him each and he could repay all those shoddy performances of the past.
RACE 7: (3) BOLT FOR BRILLIANCE $2.40 - Really keen on this fella. Ran staggering sectionals last week for a trotter and should get every hope here. I think he can even park out and knockoff Majestic Man - but - will he set it up for Oscar to strike?
RACE 8: (4) FRANCO INDIE $1.70 - This could be All Stars' next superstar horse. At Ashburton he thundered around the track and ran a 1:51.8 mile and has won 4 of 5 career starts. He may need to be tougher than he is fast today but either way he looks a special.
RACE 10: (3) LOVIN THE PORT $2.60 - There are easier races to tackle today but I think this fella has lengths on the rest... on his best form. Fresh up today, I think this son of Love You can beat these on pure ability.
RACE 11: (6) CLASSIE BRIGADE $7 each way - I cannot believe I'm tipping Classie Brigade in a NZ Cup but he's in career-best form and the contenders in this Cup have major questions to answer early in this race. He picked off his 3rd Kaikoura Cup last week and almost knocked off Self Assured last start. He's likely to step, lead and hand to a horse who will take him all the way to the lane. Every chance from there.
BEST BETS: 7/3 BOLT FOR BRILLIANCE $2.40 8/4 FRANCO INDIE $1.70
Tune into the coverage across SEN Track and Sky Active for a massive day of Australasian Harness action.