Tue | Aug 20, 2019

Top sprinters clash at the park

Published:Wednesday | February 13, 2019 | 12:14 AM

Course specialists PEKING CRUZ and NUCLEAR FLIGHT, both sub-46.0-second half-mile horses, clash at their favourite distance of five furlongs straight in this afternoon’s ninth event, an open-allowance race with seven runners.

PEKING CRUZ has won four of five tries at the distance, only losing at the trip last time out to grade-one horses, stablemate MONEY MAGNET and champion sprinter CHACE THE GREAT. He has waltzed back down in class on a four-month get-out-of-jail card for horses graduating to grade one after winning two races in open allowance.

However, he does so with topweight 126lb, drawn at post-­position one, the handicaps and track bias against him, taking on the filly, NUCLEAR FLIGHT, who has everything in her favour, bar a tendency to be slowly into stride at times.

NUCLEAR FLIGHT has never lost a five-straight race and has a best time of 57.2, a November 21 victory which graduated her to open allowance before she lost to ANOTHER BULLET a month ago. PEKING CRUZ has a best time of 58.0 at five furlongs straight but had 115lb, beating SARAH LEE on his first start in open allowance.

Though drawn at post-position one, the gate will be shifted to mid-track, putting PEKING CRUZ approximately three to four stalls off the inner rail, technically stall four – not a bad ‘draw’ for a horse who has won from stalls two, three and five at the distance and disputed the lead to the last furlong in the Caribbean Sprint on his first outing in grade one.

NUCLEAR FLIGHT has never graced grade one, nor has she ever won an open-allowance race, losing the five-and-a-half-furlong St Catherine Cup to ANOTHER BULLET on January 12. However, similar to PEKING CRUZ, she is a five-straight specialist but in receipt of 14lb from the gelding, drawn at post-position six in the seven-horse field and armed with 112lb.

Having to allow a 57.2-second horse 14lb, breaking from an inside draw, to boot, seems a bit too much to ask of PEKING CRUZ, despite the free pass on which he has returned to open allowance.

However, NUCLEAR FLIGHT has one problem, a bad habit of being slowly into stride, which, if she even contemplates, will give her no chance against PEKING CRUZ. The only plus in that regard is that she reserves those moments for the round course.

If she behaves at the start and runs her usually strong five-straight race, the draw and handicaps should get her home, especially after that blinder in the St Catherine Cup, blazing splits of 23.0 and 45.2 on the round course, going down by a length and a quarter to ANOTHER BULLET’s fast 1:04.3.