YEAR: 2007


Changeover winning from Top Tempo
Changeover has the Christian Cullen NZ Derby on Friday night at his mercy.

It would need a heap of imagination to think of it in any other way on the strength of his efficient demolition of seven others in the First Sovereign Trust Flying Stakes at Addington last week. He was in front after 500 metres, and with arch rival Gotta Go Cullen parked wide early and then having it hard outside him later, it was pretty much a race as expected. But while Gotta Go Cullen faded from the picture smartly from the 400m, Top Tempo again looked sharp with a bold finish for second, and Montecito held on well after being in the trail, although he was more than three lengths from Changeover when it was over.

Both trainer Geoff Small and driver David Butcher claim there is still some improvement to come, ever though a trial before the Flying Stakes made a big difference. Butcher said he did it easily enough, and was surprised to hear how quick the horse had gone down the back when he considered he got it 'soft'. "I think that will tighten him up just nicely," he said.

He has not written off Gotta Go Cullen as a threat in the Derby. "He had the hardest run of all, and it could be different this week," he said. He concedes the opposition is not as strong as it might have been, but says there is still quality in the ranks. "With Lombo Pocketwatch and Fergiemack not there, it is weaker than it could have been," he said.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly

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