Trotting Masters Title Up For Grabs

25 April 2019 | Chris Barsby
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The final two legs of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters take place in Auckland over the next week.

The $100,000 H R Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup and the $150,000 Re-Harvest Rowe Cup are the remaining features.

And the race to be crowned Trotting Master is very much alive.

Australian based trotters Dance Craze (160 points), Big Jack Hammer (102) and Tornado Valley (102) lead the race but none of the above mentioned trio have made their way across the ditch.

So, the door is ajar for a New Zealand trotter to swoop late and take the title.

And recent history is on their side, star mare Habibti Ivy came from virtual obscurity two years ago to be crowned the Trotting Master following her special efforts at Alexandra Park.

Those in the mix include Marcoola (101), Speeding Spur (63), Temporale (62), Lemond (40) and Monty Python (31).

Anyone of the above mentioned can stake their claim and take the title with big efforts in the two premier North Island trotting features.

First staged in 2012, the ANZAC Cup is a 2200m mobile start feature and the honour roll is rich with previous winners including I Can Doosit, Stent, Superbowlcheerleader, Sheemon, Monbet, Habibti Ivy and Lemond last year.

Can Lemond create history and become the first dual winner of the ANZAC Cup?

The Ross Paynter trained six-year-old enters the event with good recent form, winning two of his past three starts and looms as a definite contender for defending his title.

Canterbury trained star Marcoola creates plenty of interest, the Dominion Handicap winner is clearly capable despite being unplaced at his past three starts.

Local star Speeding Spur is hoping its third time lucky, a runner-up behind Monbet back in 2016 while unplaced last year, the John and Josh Dickie trained star is a last start winner of the NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on April 5.

Champion horseman Tony Herlihy is chasing his maiden success in the feature with outstanding trotter Temporale, his recent form is excellent and despite being unplaced in the past two editions he will be strongly fancied.

Veteran performer Monty Python returns to his native country and original trainer Phil Williamson after an extended campaign in Australia under the care of Brent Lilley and has won his past two starts.

If successful, he will become the oldest trotter to win the ANZAC Cup.

Mark Purdon has been booked to drive Monty Python and is chasing his first driving success in the feature despite training two previous winners (I Can Doosit & Superbowlcheerleader).

Also representing the Williamson stable is in-form trotter Majestic Man, a winner of his past six starts and the four-year-old will again be handled by Phil’s son Brad.

Master conditioner Paul Nairn is chasing his second victory in the ANZAC Cup after preparing Habibti Ivy two years ago and the Canterbury trainer has both Ronald J and Habibi Inta representing his stable.

Gerard O’Reilly partners Ronald J while Blair Orange takes the drive behind Habibi Inta.

Orange is most successful driver in the ANZAC Cup with two previous victories coming via classy mares Habibti Ivy & Superbowlcheerleader.

Destiny Jones is looking to join the above mentioned mares as a winner of the ANZAC Cup; the Dean Hunter trainee is the only representative of the fairer sex this year.

Rising star Massive Metro looms as a legitimate threat given his recent form, the Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained gelding proved his class with his victory in the National Trot earlier this season.

Another up and comer with solid claims is Sundees Son, prepared by Robert and John Dunn, the four-year-old  was gallant in defeat behind Speeding Spur in the NZ Trotting Championship at Addington last start.

The Sean McCaffrey trained Everybody Knows lands the inside draw while  the Todd MacFarlane prepared Heavyweight Hero is looking to regain his best form.

It’s a strong line-up and there’s plenty at stake but who will make a play to be crowned Trotting Master?  

The first three placed runners are guaranteed a start in the 2019 Rowe Cup next week.

The ANZAC Cup is race six on the program and is listed to start at 8.40pm local time.