NEW ZEALAND’S fastest mare is about to go back in time.
The Orange Agent added another national record to her collection with a stunning performance at Alexandra Park last Friday, coming from what looked a hopeless position at the 600-metre mark to grab Cyclone Kiwi.
She had to come four wide and even overcame ducking in, in the home straight to grab victory in a 1:54.3 mile rate for the 1700 metres – a national mares’ mark.
Considering the leader paced his final 800 metres in 55.7 seconds, The Orange Agent must have broken 55 seconds when you take into account the extra ground she covered.
But while she is now an aged mare’s record holder, The Orange Agent reverts to being a three-year-old filly this week because of the odd situation that sees Australia’s harness racing season end a month later than ours.
So she arrives in Melbourne on Sunday as a mares’ national record holder about to race in the fillies’ Breeders’ Crown.
The daughter of American Ideal is red hot to win that series, especially with her arch rival Fight For Glory not competing.
And trainer Brian Hughes is unusually confident.
“She doesn’t seem to have anything bothering her at the moment, she feels spot on,” Hughes said. “She has got better all season.”
The Orange Agent will be stabled with former Kiwi trainer Nicole Molander and her first Australian start will be in the Breeders’ Crown semis at Ballarat on Saturday night before the Final eight days later.
She has already shown she has the measure of her fellow New Zealand-trained fillies in Start Dreaming, Linda Lovegrace and Classical Art, which are next in the ABC betting, with the Australian fillies not a strong crop.
But more importantly, The Orange Agent has developed gate speed as well as the ability to come wide and overcome little momentum interruptions in her races, giving driver Maurice McKendry options in Victoria.
“She was great again tonight and she just has so much speed,” said McKendry of a drive that could have seen him cop plenty of criticism had The Orange Agent arrive a few strides later.
- HRNZ Media