Best bet: Wainui Creek (R6, No.6): High class filly last season who returns in a grade that olds few fears for her.
Well placed: Ideal Agent (R10, No.7): Showed real ability last season and recent workout win suggests he is ready for tonight.
Northern debut: On A Roll (R5, No.2): Brave debut second at Addington last start and perfectly drawn for first look at The Park.
By Michael Guerin
One of the brightest additions to the northern harness ranks should make a winning debut from her new home at Alexandra Park tonight.
And if Wainui Creek does just that it sets up a potentially dominant night for trainer Barry Purdon, who has winning hopes in half the 10-race card.
Purdon has taken over the training of Wainui Creek, who ironically his filly Belle Of Montana denied group one glory by the barest of margins in the Sires’ Stakes Championship last New Years Eve.
Wainui Creek looked to have that trophy in her cabinet at the 100m mark until Belle Of Montana flew to grab her right on the line, form subsequently franked by the latter winning Filly of the Year.
Waunui Creek’s season spluttered on after that for trainer Richard Aubrey but has retained her natural speed into this campaign judging by two recent workouts wins and her disappointed second half of last season does provide the bonus of meaning she returns in an easier grade tonight.
So much so anything but a comeback win would be a surprise as she aims at races like the Queen Of Hearts in the summer.
Purdon also has a strong hand in tonight’s feature the Holmes D G, named after his great pacer of last decade, with Mach Shard looking the big improver from the Spring Cup last start.
He was just grabbed in that race by Triple Eight but meets him much better in the handicaps tonight and if he begins as well as he did last start he could gain valuable field position over his fellow 20m markers.
With only two rivals on the front line he can go one better tonight in a race robbed of Star Galleria, who has suffered an injury that may keep him out of the New Zealand Cup and threatens his Inter Dominion campaign.
Purdon has one of last season’s best juveniles Bad To The Bone returning in race four where he faces the outside of the second line draw over 2200m.
He looks the class act of the race but with his major rivals Mighty Looee (three) and his own stablemate Sole Ambition (ace) drawn well Bad To The Bone is going to need to race right up to his best and have no bad luck to make a winning return.
The stable rounds out their night with Sunny Glennis an each way hope in race eight and Be My Rock and Thumbs Up both looking better than maiden grade in race nine.
Away from Alexandra Park the weekend harness results could have implications for both the New Zealand Cup and Inter Dominions, which return to Alexandra Park on November 29.
Last season’s New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer makes his slightly delayed return to the track in the Methven Cup on Sunday where the small field and grass surface should suit him as he fights to overcome ongoing hoof issues.
But before then the Victoria Cup at Melton tomorrow night could go a long way to deciding what Australian horses target the New Zealand carnivals.
Trainers like Grant Dixon from Queensland have indicated a win from Colt Thirty One, who has drawn the ace in the Victoria Cup, that a win would enormously increase the likelihood of an Inter Dominion campaign.
Others out of the Melton group one who could turn up in New Zealand include San Carlo (likely for both Addington and Alexandra Park), Bling It On (Interdoms) and Buster Brady (New Zealand Cup).