By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
The opening race on the card at Alexandra Park on Friday will likely prove to be a tactical affair.
There will be just four runners in the Congrats “Fergie” On 2000 Wins Mobile Pace (2200m), including last start Gr.3 Junior Free-For-All (2600m) placegetter On The Cards.
Trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan were pleased with his efforts at Addington Raceway on Cup Day and believe he will be hard to beat in his resuming northern run.
“We were rapt with his run on Cup Day,” Phelan said. “We thought we were going to be pretty hard to beat turning for home, but the one we didn’t want sitting on our back was on our back.
“That’s the way it goes, he (Vintage Cheddar) was a nice enough horse to beat him. We were happy with the run.
“He was back home just after Show Day. He has come up pretty well so I am pretty happy with him.”
On The Cards is rated nearly 30 points higher than his closest rival on Friday, but Phelan said he still expects a tough run.
“Tommy Lincoln will be hard enough to beat and it could almost be determined at the start what exactly we want to do.”
Northern cups targets now await the six-year-old gelding.
“He will go towards the cup races after Friday, like the Franklin Cup and Auckland Cup,” Phelan said.
Owner Dennis Thompson will also look forward to seeing his light blue and green colours carried by another two runners on Friday night.
Raven Banner will contest the E & G Stuart 40th Anniversary Mobile Pace (2200m), while Bettor Listen will line-up in the NRM Mobile Pace (2200m).
“Raven Banner hasn’t got a great draw (7) but he tries hard and is always thereabouts,” Phelan said.
“Bettor Listen always finds one better. I would like it if he didn’t this week. He has trained on well and if he doesn’t win he will probably come second.”
Bettor Listen will be joined in his race by stablemate Colin Bromac and Phelan said this will likely be his last run this preparation.
“Colin Bromac is an honest enough horse,” he said. “He will go for a break after Friday. He is coming towards the end of it but he is still going honest enough races. We expect similar again.”
Consistent mare Jemma will round out the stable’s team on Friday when she contests the North Island Junior Drivers Series Mobile Pace (1700m).
“Jemma has got a good draw (3) and should be pretty hard to beat,” Phelan said.