by Jonny Turner
Northern pacer Triple Eight will be on a mission of his own in the Kaikoura Cup while his rivals are being primed for next week’s New Zealand Cup.
Addington’s greatest race will be the furthest thing from trainer Steve Telfer’s mind when he lines the 5yr-old and his stablemate Check In up in the final lead up race before the New Zealand Cup.
The $50,000 feature will instead serve as an opportunity for Telfer to show off a bigger and stronger Triple Eight and prep him for the Auckland Inter-Dominions.
The American Ideal pacer looks to have taken his game to a new level with two brilliant wins at Alexandra Park in two spring starts.
Telfer confirmed that is the case and that the timing is right for his pacer to make a mark on the country’s open class ranks.
“He has come back a bit stronger and he has matured a bit from last year – he is racing well and we are very happy with him.” trainer Steve Telfer said.
The tight turning Kaikoura track, with its noted front runners bias, is set to have horses fighting to be on the speed.
That puts Triple Eight in a vastly different scenario from his two starts this season – where he has begun fairly before launching big finishes.
“Hopefully he can make a fairly fast getaway,” the trainer said.
“At Kaikoura it is important to be in the first couple because it is hard to make ground.”
“He has been beginning solidly – he hasn’t been brilliant – but he has not looked like making a mistake.”
Check In has had to chase his stablemate home in his last two starts, which has relegated him to Telfer’s second stringer in today’s event.
“He is probably a touch below the good ones, but he has got good manners, he is tractable and he follows speed really well.”
The Kaikoura Cup favourite Another Masterpiece is in the same position as Triple Eight, as the New Zealand Cup is not on his radar.
The 4yr-old has made a respectable start to his season by running fourth behind Ultimate Sniper, first up, and going on to hold fifth behind Spankem in the Ashburton Flying Stakes.
While his last effort was not spectacular, after racing three back on the markers, it was good enough to see him easily beat the rivals he faces in today’s race.
They included his All Stars stablemate, Cruz Bromac, who galloped without good reason at Ashburton.
Despite that below par effort and it being reported that the horse broke in his final serious training run, the 8yr-old has been well supported in early fixed odds betting.
Cruz Bromac is not the only horse needing to seriously lift his game to get his New Zealand Cup campaign back on track.
Australian Raider Our Uncle Sam is in a similar position after fading out of Spankem’s Ashburton Flying Stakes.
A Bettor Act and Nandolo also need to impress ahead of the New Zealand Cup.
The pair are effectively fighting over the final spot in next week’s race, if Sheriff and The Devils Own are withdrawn as expected.
Another New Zealand Cup position may open up if Ashley Locaz is unable to recover from the setback that ruled him out of the Kaikoura Cup.
However, it is hoped the pacer will be back in action at the New Zealand Cup trials on Wednesday.