Natalie Rasmussen isn’t expecting Princess Tiffany to be gifted tonight’s $100,000 New Zealand Breeders Stakes at Addington.
That doesn’t diminish her confidence the hot favourite can win and earn herself a trip to Sydney, but it might not be the comfortable watch many punters expect.
Princess Tiffany is $1.40 in the Breeders after returning from a long layoff by easily beating many of these last start over 1980m, when she was able to stroll to the front and control the race.
Rasmussen, who co-trains the multiple Group 1 winner and will drive her, says Princess Tiffany has improved with that outing but she expects more early challenges tonight.
“I don’t think the other drivers will just hand it to her this time,” says Rasmussen.
“I think the two drawn inside her might be happy to trail, but other horses like Wainui Creek, Step Up or Bettors Heart drawn wider might have a crack early. So while I am confident she can win it might not be as easy as last time.”
|Best bet:||Princess Tiffany (Addington, R9, No.4):||If she leads she wins and if she doesn’t lead she probably still wins. Should get her Ladyship Mile invite tonight.|
|This time:||Resonate (Alexandra Park, R5, No.8):||Has missed plenty of times but finds himself in the right race tonight. Should finally get another win after seven seconds here, including one in the Northern Trotting Derby.|
|Manners the key:||Kennys Dream (Alexandra Park, R7, No.6):||Beat Pretty Majestic last start by stepping better and getting in front of her. That can happen again and has added bonus of trainer Tony Herlihy jumping in the saddle.|
While multi punters or big players might be happy to take the $1.40 for Princess Tiffany others may look for different ways to make money out of the race, with the natural option looking to be Ivana Flybye at $2.20 a place drawn the ace.
If Princess Tiffany is able to run straight to the front and stay there that could be good money but if Rasmussen is right and there is more early pressure, then the Ivana Flybye trail and run second theory may not be so logical.
If the market is right and Princess Tiffany does win she will earn automatic entry into the $200,000 Ladyship Mile in Sydney on March 7 and she would head there to take on arch-rival Belle Of Montana.
Rasmussen and partner Mark Purdon hold the key to most of the features at Addington tonight with Amazing Dream expected to continue her domination of the three-year-old fillies season in the $150,000 Sales Series Pace.
“She is working really well and even if she doesn’t lead she should trail at worst.”
Another Masterpiece is fresh since the Auckland Cup on New Year's Eve but has been working so well Rasmussen says she will not be scared to put him into the race from a wide draw, even though he meets some fit, hard-running rivals.
But the $30,000 trotters Free-For-All looks potentially more challenging for the All Stars with Marcoola and Valloria genuine threats to their pair Enhance Your Calm and King’s Landing.
“Our two are trotting well but it won’t be an easy race,” offers Rasmussen. “I’d favour Enhance Your Calm slightly out of our two.”
Further north what may be the best three-year-old pacer in the country returns in a tricky race at Alexandra Park.
Copy That has been brilliant for much of this season and with better luck would have won the Group 1 Sires’ Stakes Final in November, but he tries something new tonight when he has his first race-night standing start and, being off 20m over 2200m, punters won’t want him to get it wrong.
He stepped safely at the Pukekohe workouts last Saturday and easily beat a key race rival tonight in On The Cards off level marks, so with a 15-metre start on him tonight if Copy That behaves he should continue on his winning way to the Woodlands Northern Derby on March 6.