Last time Tony Herlihy took Temporale to Cambridge he was full of confidence and went home with the spoils.
Tonight he is full of hope going into the Flying Stakes, the first leg of an open class double at the track’s centenary meeting.
Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up is expected to lead and win the Flying Mile for the pacers providing he can hold off the attentions of Jack’s Legend and Star Galleria at the start.
But he will be red hot, especially with New Zealand Cup winning stablemate Thefixer likely to be back early from his wide draw and then parked at the very best from the bell.
So while Turn It Up should continue his short but spectacular winning run his divvy may not be that attractive to most punters, although plenty will anchor him in the $40,000 Pick6.
But it is in the trotters sprint that there is money to be made based around three Group 1 winners.
Speeding Spur returns after his honest Inter Dominion campaign but has the outside gate while last week’s National Trot winner Massive Metro faces two significant hurdles: drawing the second line and an apparent aversion to left-handed racing.
Temporale picks himself: well, he does on his form two starts ago, not so much on what he did last start.
Two starts ago he came here, took on similar opposition and sat parked for the last 800m to wear down stablemate The Almighty Johnson over a mile, so more or less the same trip as tonight’s 1700m.
Herlihy had gone into that race confident after some improved work and tipped Temporale strongly and he was backed in from $6 to $2.90.
Then a week later in that National Trot won by Massive Metro, Temporale galloped early and never trotted squarely after.
“He warmed up great then galloped early and afterwards he never trotted any good,” said Herlihy.
“We went over him and have had some chiropractic work done and his work has been good since.
“So I expect him to be better but when they go a race like he did last time it knocks your confidence and it is hard to go there on Friday as happy as I was with him last time we went to Cambridge.”
If the December 24 version of Temporale turns up he should probably take the lead off The Almighty Johnson and win but he is does still have an issue Herlihy can’t put his finger on, then Speeding Spur might be able to turn the clock back three years to when he won this race in 2016.
As for the pacers Turn It Up will almost certainly win if he leads but there is very little data on whether he can easily do that with two quick beginners drawn close by.
He has only had four mobile starts in his career, getting crossed in a maiden race from barrier one on debut but he did lead from barrier eight in an intermediate field at the Cup meeting.
His only mobile start in the big time was when he drew barrier two in the NZ Free-For-All and couldn’t cross Jack’s Legend out of the gate but with such a short run to the first turn at Cambridge he looks a good chance to hold the front and even if he doesn’t he should trail and still probably win.
Bettorstartdreaming (race six) back from taking on the best three-year-olds last start might prove the other Pick6 anchor.