By Michael Guerin
Cambridge’s biggest harness meeting has been gifted a trotting bonus this Friday.
Both Inter Dominion champion Winterfell and excitement machine Oscar Bonavena are surprise entries for the $30,000 Les Harrison Transport Flying Stakes while New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer will headline the $50,000 McMillans Feeds Flying Mile for the pacers.
The latter’s clash with Chase Auckland, Mach Shard and past winner Star Galleria isn’t unexpected but the two standout trotters in the country heading to Friday’s meeting is.
Oscar Bonavena was expected to head straight to Australia after his Auckland campaign while Winterfell could have been spelled after his win in the National Trot last start because he has been a vastly superior version of himself right-handed at Alexandra Park.
But trainer Mark Purdon has opted to run him left-handed before he returns to Canterbury with Oscar Bonavena the stable’s sole rep for the A$250,000 Great Southern Star on February 1.
Enhance Your Calm will head home after two breaks in his recent open class trotting races.
Purdon has decided this season’s NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac will miss Victoria and instead be aimed at the Miracle Mile in Sydney, with Auckland Cup winner Self Assured heading to Melton but only for the Bonanza on January 25, missing the Hunter Cup.
That leaves Thefixer and Chase Auckland as stable’s only hopes in the Hunter Cup on February 1, while Smooth Deal will contest the Victoria Derby and then on to Sydney for the NSW Derby.
There is no plans to take superstar filly Amazing Dream to Australia for either the Victoria or NSW Oaks while Princess Tiffany will also stay home and concentrate on the local mares races rather than travel.