Dora explores her winning Methven options

David McCormick and Dora Explorer come up just short of success at the Mt Hutt Trotting Club workouts on Saturday.

They might be slightly low in numbers, but there’s no escaping the quality of the nominations for Sunday’s Methven Cup.

A two-pronged attack from the champion stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen with current Cup favourite, Ultimate Machete and new open class pacing star Cruz Bromac heads the 14-strong field entered in the $30,000 Group Three event – but the star-quality doesn’t stop there.

North Island raider, Star Galleria is also in the mix along with A G’s White Socks, who will be out to give Ricky May success in his hometown Cup, while other serious New Zealand Trotting Cup contenders Locharburn and Forgotten Highway are also part of the mix.

The locals will be represented by the Leo O’Reilly-trained James Dean who produced a huge run in the race last year after being wiped out at the start.

A key lead up race on the path to the New Zealand Trotting Cup, the race gives horses a strong pathway toward the remaining features before the second Tuesday in November such as the Ashburton Flying Stakes and the Kaikoura Cup.

More than 200 nominations have been received for the big day with large field sizes set to be the order of the day.

A number of those nominations stepped out at Saturday’s Mt Hutt Trotting Club workouts – a strong form guide from a punter’s perspective for future racing.

At the Methven meeting in September, seven winners came out of the trials held on the track the week before.

Of those who impressed on Saturday, Dora Explorer certainly stood out.

The David McCormick-trained trotter made a mistake at the start, but staged a huge recovery to come up just short of winning the heat.

She was desperately unlucky in her last start at Methven and should she bring her manners on Sunday, she’ll be a major player.

Sunday will also see some of the best punters in the land come together in an effort to win the heat of the Kiwi Punters Championship.

The nationwide competition, from which winners qualify for the grand final worth $100,000 on Show Day, sees punters put their skills up against other like-minded people in the all day long competition – made even harder this weekend for Methven’s notorious reputation for a big dividend.

Entry fee for Sunday’s competition is $500, which is also the betting money for the day, with the winner walking away with $2000 cash.

-Ashburton Guardian.