By Michael Guerin
Trainer Brent Mangos will have the rare thrill of taking his stable star South Coast Arden for a race night spin at Cambridge tonight and he looks to have found the perfect race for their reunion.
Mangos and South Coast Arden will start hot favourites in the $20,000 Cambridge Classic, a race initially supposed to also contain Self Assured but his trainer Mark Purdon has decided to wait until Alexandra Park next Friday.
Not that Mangos would have had to fear Self Assured because South Coast Arden matched motors with him all spring, including beating him in the NZ Free-For-All at Addington in November.
Mangos had to watch that and most of South Coast Arden’s other races last season from his Pukekohe home as, like so many living north of the Auckland border, he was unable to travel south for months.
That meant Natalie Rasmussen teamed up with South Coast Arden last autumn, Mangos left her on for a stunning Jewels win at Cambridge in June then Rasmussen was on again for the South Island spring campaign.
Tonight Mangos finally gets back behind the giant pacer on racenight for the first time since April 30 and he goes into the 2200m mobile confident, as he should be against just three opponents.
“He is really well and has usually gone very well when fresh,” says Mangos.
The pair have had two recent workouts and won easily coming from last albeit in a weakish heat at Pukekohe last weekend.
“He felt good doing it so I am going in confident,” said Mangos.
There appears to be a logical form reference to tonight as in an almost identical race at Alexandra Park last Friday, Self Assured was able to sit parked outside Kango and beat him, with a similar scenario looking likely tonight.
If Mangos pushes the button early then South Coast Arden could lead, as he has in both his group one victories, and punters taking the short odds get an easier watch.
But judging by last week’s Alex Park race he should still be able to sit outside Kango and beat him if South Coast Arden is near his true form.