By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
Returning to racing in this country for the first time in seven months, High Energy will start a warm favourite in tonight’s $110,000 What The Hill New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington.
Trained by the all-powerful Purdon Racing, the Father Patrick filly has a superb record of eight wins from 11 starts.
Tonight she has drawn wide on the front line (8) but is still the top pick at $3.30 FF, ahead of Shez Bella ($5), Aroha Kenny ($5.50), Melsadele ($7) and Walkinonsunshine ($8), who’s vying to take out the Northen Oaks – Southern Oaks – New Zealand Oaks treble.
“I think we are going to be all right the way she trialled,” co-trainer Nathan Purdon told the Purdon Racing website, “that was when we decided to press on to the Oaks. It has been a little touch and go and whatever she does on Friday she will be better for the run.”
In High Energy’s last New Zealand race she was third behind Walkinonsunshine in the Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park on May 4.
She then campaigned in Australia from August to October. She had two wins to start off and then had a third and an eighth at Melton. That final race was in the Group 2 Need for Speed Princess and it’s the only time she’s been unplaced in 11 career starts.
“She got quite sick over there. It needed treatment and 10 days in the paddock when she got home for her to come right and then we thought we were up against it to make the Oaks,” Purdon says.
“But with luck I think we might have done it.”
This time last year she won the NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Trotting Championship at Addington before producing a sensational run to take out the Group 1 Ace of Hearts 2YO Fillies at the first ever Grand Prix meeting at Addington.
She was four wide at one stage, before being last at the 800 before being launched and going on to win comfortably by 2 1/2 lengths. At the time commentator Matt Cross described it as a “huge huge run”.
All going to plan she will be back at Addington for this year’s Grand Prix on December 10, this time in the Group 1 King Of The North New Zealand Trotting Derby.
In tonight’s Group 2 NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Trotting Championship (7.08pm) impressive last start winner Empire City is a $3.80 favourite, just ahead of Wilma’s Boy. Others in the market include northerner Dreams Pat, Tyron Eros, Princess Sadie, and Look To Da Stars.