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Alford’s warning re Queen Elida

TAB Trot contender Queen Elida. - PHOTO: Pacepix/Club Menangle
TAB Trot contender Queen Elida.

PHOTO: Pacepix/Club Menangle

Champion driver Chris Alford has warned punters to drop off star trotting mare Queen Elida at their own peril.

Alford, who recently topped an Australasian record 8000 career wins, says Queen Elida is as good as any trotter he’s driven and getting back close to her very best just in time for Friday night’s stellar inaugural $NZ600,000 TAB Trot at Cambridge Raceway.

Remarkably, the winner of 34 races and almost $800,000 is an outsider even from the coveted pole position.

“I can’t work it out,” Alford said. “I’m the first to admit she hasn’t been at her top, but she’s had some issues with her feet and this will be the best she’s been in a long while when she steps out on Friday.”

Alford took lots of positives out of Queen Elida’s final lead-up race when second to the classy and very fast Oscar Bonavena, who had the cold sit on her, at Cambridge last Thursday.

“I don’t see why you’d be disappointed in that run. We knew and said she needed the run. She just blew out the last little bit,” he said.

“Otherwise, she felt really good and I’ve driven her for so long now, I know she thrives on lots of racing because she’s such a good doer.

“That run should have her primed for this week.”

Alford and trainer Brent Lilley have known basically all along that Queen Elida would draw the pole under the preferential conditions of the TAB Trot as the only mare in the race.

“It’s a big reason to go across. It’s a huge advantage, especially around a track like Cambridge,” he said.

“If you could give this mare a perfect run, it would be behind the leader and that’s almost certainly where she will be.

“I’m sure I’m sure I've got the speed to hold all of them at the start, except maybe Callmethebreeze if Nathan (Jack, driver) really bustles him out. Even that wouldn’t be bad because I’d be on his back and there’s no way he would hand up.

“If Callmethebreeze doesn’t come out, and there’s a chance of that because he can really fire up, then I’ll have the option of sitting on Arcee Phoenix or Just Believe. They’d both be great to trail.

“There’s no bad options for me from the draw as far as following a horse who will take me right into the race and then it’s up to whether my mare is good enough or not.

“She’s got a fantastic turn of speed when we drive her that way and with the sort of run she should get, I can’t understand why she’s not one of the main ones in the betting.”

Queen Elida runs in the TAB (NZ) slot and is a $17 chance in the latest market. – Adam Hamilton


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