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Look out for Tommy Tucker at Ascot Park today. That's the word from Wingatui trainer Shane Anderton as he takes a six-strong team south with father Brian for the Southland Racing Club's Christmas meeting.
The Andertons have been toiling away this season, picking up three wins to date, and Anderton jun is fairly happy with the current performance of the stable.
''The team has been going pretty good,'' he said.
''We're not winning many, but we're running plenty of places.''
One horse who racked up a win last start is Beehive Bomber. He was sent out as favourite at Winton on November 21 and rewarded punters with an easy three-length win.
His rating of 63 puts him at the top of the weights on 59kg along with Peter Richard and Strike Up The Band for the rating 65 1200m, but that does not concern Anderton.
''He's a big enough horse to carry a bit of weight and he's very well.''
The Danske 5yr-old is paired with Shankar Muniandy, who rode the gelding to the Winton win.
Muniandy also teams up with mare Inferno, who has drawn barrier four in the $25,000 open 2200m.
Anderton said the Yamanin Vital mare would relish the longer distances, as she jumped up from her last start at Cromwell over 1400m to the extra slog of the 2200m.
''She was running on good at the end and she hit the line well.''
Inferno may be jumping up in distance, but Tommy Tucker drops back in class considerably from his previous assignment.
The Gallant Guru gelding was just a neck away from Ishiguru on New Zealand Cup day at Riccarton Park on November 17. That second placing has since been franked by Cold Snap (fourth), winning at Wanganui on December 1. Anderton is confident the 4yr-old can make it two from two on the Ascot Park track in race 6.
''Jamie [Bullard] was happy with him at Riccarton and he's riding him again - hopefully he'll go one better.''
Anderton is also very happy with News Flash (race 1), Valiant (race 3), and The Boys (race 9). The Boys dashed home late at Winton behind Pinot Express on November 21, but Anderton earmarked Tommy Tucker as the best of his six charges, based on the big drop back in opposition.
The track is expected to be rated good (3) today. It has been irrigated.
- Matt Smith