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New Zealand Cup contender Robyns Playboy’s standing start manners will be key to his chances of winning the ‘‘Battle of the Playboys’’ at Ascot Park today.
The Hannon Memorial runner-up will clash with Pembrook Playboy as the pair take another step towards the second Tuesday in November in the Northern Southland Trotting Club’s 2700m handicap pace.
Robyns Playboy must give his main rival a 10m headstart, with Pembrook Playboy starting in front of him on the 20m mark.
The way the 5yr-old has been beginning in his recent starts has driver Craig Ferguson hopeful Robyns Playboy can negate his 30m mark early in tomorrow’s race.
“He has been beginning super his last couple. If he can get away pretty quick and tack on the back of them ...” the reinsman said.
“He is probably going to have to make a midrace move at some stage, but as long as he begins good he shouldn’t be too far off them.”
Robyns Playboy appears to have a race fitness edge, with tomorrow’s event being the fifth run of his campaign.
Pembrook Playboy has just had one start back from a spell, missing a clash with Robyns Playboy when scratched from the Hannon Memorial.
While his rival was sidelined, Robyns Playboy gave his New Zealand Cup hopes a massive boost with an excellent second placing behind Classie Brigade.
“I was real happy with him up there,” Ferguson said.
Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson has been happy with his 4yr-old since then and thinks Pembrook Playboy is fit enough to be highly competitive tomorrow.
The two ‘‘Playboys’’ take on six other runners, including fellow New Zealand Cup aspirant Vintage Cheddar, which starts from the 40m back mark.