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Star mare Princess Tiffany looks set for a group race repeat in tonight’s group 1 $100,000 New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Stakes (2600m) at Addington.
The All Stars 4yr-old will carry the same No4 saddlecloth she had when she won the group 2 Premier Mares’ Championship on the same track two weeks ago.
Co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen controlled the 1980m from in front and was aided by a lack of mid-race pressure.
The same scenario could play out in the free-for-all tonight but if more pressure is applied, Princess Tiffany is in a better position to handle it due to her fitness.
"Princess Tiffany is close to her very best and I like the draw, because of the options that gives us,” Rasmussen said on her stable’s website.
"I can’t really fault her prep in recent weeks and hopefully she can get an entry to the Ladyship Mile at Menangle here. If not, she will be off to Sydney early next week to find another race to qualify.
"But I am very hopeful she can beat this field with any luck.”
The make-up of the front line could bring more pressure at the start tonight.
Gate-flyer Wainui Creek is drawn beside Princess Tiffany and another main rival, Step Up, is drawn another spot outside them.
Wainui Creek was never a factor in the Premier Mares Championship after being snookered three back on the markers and ran fifth.
Step Up impressed when looping the field from the outside of the second row to run third.
The 5yr-old’s lack of high gate-speed could mean she drifts off the speed for driver Ben Butcher again.
"If she had drawn [from] where she could have led, she would have been a candidate to stay there,
but she probably can’t get across Princess Tiffany," trainer Steve Telfer said.
"She is a lovely mare and really honest and she can do a bit of work."
Telfer also starts Ivana Flybye who goes from barrier 1.
The 5yr-old could potentially trail Princess Tiffany.
However, Telfer is wary Ivana Flybye is at risk of missing a golden run as she lacks high gate-speed.
"She hasn’t done a lot of racing in the front. Early on she was a bit tricky out of the gate,” he said.
Premier Mares Championship runner-up Bettor’s Heart also reverts from the back row to the front where she starts from barrier 8.
The 6yr-old, who is capable of making a blazing beginning, did superbly to get within just over a length from barrier 12 last time.
Leading Otago 3yr-old Spirit Of St Louis will attempt to add to his excellent career record in the Harness 7000 race (1980m mobile).
Though the race has some promising types, it looks far from daunting for Spirit Of St Louis.