Let It Ride and Maurice McKendry, at the Pukekohe workouts on Saturday. Photo: Kirstin Leddington.
Ex-pat Kiwi pacer Let It Ride has come up with an ideal draw in Friday night’s Group 1 $100,000 Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park.
He’s drawn the two ‘marble’ and looks sure to find the lead in the hands of regular reinsman Anthony Butt, who will return from Victoria for the drive.
Butt’s brother Tim trains Let It Ride in Sydney and reckons a season of hard racing at Melton (Melbourne) and Menangle (Sydney) has his horse ready to rumble.
“Especially at Menangle, where he races all the time now and they go 27, 27, 27 quarters.
“With that under his belt I think we’ll be looking to go forward and dominate from in front.”
A leader trying to run the back-markers off their feet is common in the Taylor Mile.
In fact, three of the past four winners have led, Butt’s star pacer Field Marshal the only exception two years ago with a phenomenal performance.
Butt stops short of saying Let It Ride is in the league of his Miracle Mile-winning stablemate just yet but thinks his recent second placing in the Chariots Of Fire was a signal that he should be the horse to beat this week.
“I’ve always held a high opinion of the horse and he’s really started to prove it this season.
“I thought his run at Melton, where he was three-wide the last lap outside Shadow Sax, that was a pretty good effort and told me we had a serious horse.
“He progressed to the Chariots and was unlucky in both heats and it took a top, top horse (JIlliby Kung Fu) to beat him in the big race.”
Pre-post favourite Star Galleria has also drawn well at gate four, and does possess gate speed, but Butt believes Let It Ride has the necessary to hold him out, if his brother so desires.
“He has really good gate speed, so this is an ideal draw for him; we can’t complain at all.”
Let It Ride ran third at Melton in 1.52.1 Saturday week ago and went to the trials in driving rain in Pukekohe on Saturday.
In a scenario similar to what he will find on Friday night, he drew two and showed speed, but was crossed by Star Galleria in the short run to the first bend.
Star Galleria then whipped home in 55.4 and 26.2 to win but Let It Ride was hard-held in his back, driver Maurice McKendry unmoved.
“I was really pleased with his trial,” said Butt.
“He was hard on the back of Star Galleria at the line and has progressed nicely since that.”
He expects his brother to drive aggressively off the arm and lead, but that will bring in to play A G’s White Socks, who has drawn the ace.
“He’s got a great draw where he will probably slot in and do no work, getting a cushy run.
“Star Galleria is the horse to beat and four is a lovely draw for him with his gate speed.
“Then you’ve More The Better, who follows us out and will probably settle on the speed, too.
“So, the four leading chances have all drawn well and that should set up a great race.”
Butt wouldn’t swap his runner for any of the other three, though.
“We’re ready to go this week; he’ll run a big mile.”
The Taylor Mile is one of three Group 1 events on the premier night card, the others being the Anzac Cup for the open trotters and the Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic.
The former promises to be an exciting race with Enghien drawn gate two from the mobile start as he returns to a track he has never been beaten on.
His key opponents, Temporale and Speeding Spur, have drawn the outside of the front and second lines respectively.
The unbeaten Princess Tiffany will go out a short-priced favourite in the Fillies Classic after drawing gate three for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
And a wide draw won’t stop her stablemate Luby Lou starting favourite in the Group 2 Sires Stakes Trotters Champs for three-year-olds, her last-start New Zealand Trotting Derby demolition just too good to look past.