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Punters shouldn’t be fooled into thinking tonight’s all-mile night at Alexandra Park is a gimme for those with the best draws.
Because while mile racing in the north used to be about draws, draws and more draws, the nature of northern sprint racing has changed.
So much so Alexandra Park officials now see the uncertainty of modern day mile-racing as a crucial turnover-driving tool.
In days gone by, when mid-race pressure and horses who could fly the gate were rarer, sprint races were often dominated by leaders and trailers, with those back in the field hopeless in 56-second last 800m chases.
But Alex Park racing boss Regan Cotter says the new mile racing pattern is vastly different.
“We have found the all-mile nights have been great for turnover, some of our best normal meetings of the season,” says Cotter.
“Especially when we have miles with the better horses drawn wider or the second line, it adds some uncertainty and the average win dividend has been higher.”
That was the case at the last all-mile night on July 26 when the average win dividend was $8.60 in the 10 races and even that was skewered lower by two subsequent Breeders Crown finalists in Perfect Stride ($1.50) and Kratos ($2.10) winning race they wouldn’t usually have been in.
As for the draws, an increase in horses leaving the gate hard and increased mid-race tempo means of the 10 races that night only three were won by horses drawing inside barrier five. Six of the 10 races were won by horses drawn six or wider, the outside half of the field.
All of which means punters shouldn’t be scared to back horses drawn wide or even the second line tonight, especially if the race looks to have genuine early tempo.
One of those races could be the $25,000 feature pace, in which Juice Bromac (6) has gate speed and Check In (7) the staying prowess that the race could turn into a survival of the fittest.
The same applies in the main trot where Sunny Glenns and Sertorius are drawn widest but are stayers who will have to work forward some and that might as well be early so their wide draws may not be as damning as punters think.
Go Kiwi (race 5), Henry Hu (R6) and She Reigns (r10) are others good enough to overcome wide draws with a little luck or tempo to soften up the leaders.
While barrier draws may no longer be the be-all-and-end-all of mile racing at Alexandra Park they are still crucial the highest level because the good horses don’t stop and that should be the case at the Breeders Crown Finals night at Melton tomorrow.
While Kiwi trotters Ultimate Stride and Liberty Stride are good enough to work and win, the good barriers for Princess Tiffany and juvenile boys Perfect Stride and Zeuss Bromac have enormously turned the tables in their favour on what should be a successful night for the small Kiwi contingent.