By Michael Guerin
Don’t expect the best version of Thefixer to be on show for his comeback race in the Methven Cup on Sunday.
Because while the conditions of the race look perfect for the defending New Zealand Cup champion, the horse himself is still very much on the way up.
Thefixer hasn’t raced since the middle of April and his Cup defence has started later than his key rivals because of annoying hoof issues.
They have improved after spending much of the last two weeks with beach trainer Regan Todd but while he is on the up winning a grass track 3000m race off a 30m handicap in your first start in six months is anything but easy.
“I am not saying he can’t win but he will definitely improve with the run,” says trainer Mark Purdon.
“His hooves seem better now than they have been for a while. After he works at the beach he then cools down in the salt water, which also helped his hooves.
“But these races are still hard to win fresh up so I’d narrowly rate Ashley Locaz as our best chance with Thefixer and Chase Auckland equal next.”
Chase Auckland was a dramatic failure at Addington last start but worked well yesterday morning and could be the best bet in the race even though a hard 3000m might be outside his sweet spot.
Meanwhile, Purdon is hoping moves by fellow trainers to get an open class race added to Addington next Friday comes off so he can get an extra race into New Zealand Cup favourite Spankem.
The stable’s trotting sensation Oscar Bonavena is also likely to race next Friday but Purdon is non-committal as to whether the four-year-old will contest both the NZ Free-For-All and Dominion during NZ Cup week and rates the Auckland Inter Dominions as 50-50 at this stage, important as Oscar Bonavena is favourite for all three races.