Their draws put Kentuckiana Lodge three-year-olds Casino Action and Invitation Only poles apart, but their form and ability have them much closer together.
The Cran and Chrissie Dalgety trained pairing go head-to-head in race 1 at Addington on Friday night with Casino Action starting from the ace draw in barrier 1 and Invitation Only out towards the car park in barrier 9.
Though the draws clearly favour Casino Action and driver Blair Orange, Cran doesn’t think Invitation Only and Sarah O’Reilly will be too far from the action from their wide alley.
“The draw is a big plus for Casino Action but I wouldn’t be writing off Invitation Only at all.”
“Casino Action will take the short way home and we would like to think he would be hard to beat.”
“But it is only a nine horse field, so at worst Invitation Only should only be about four or five lengths off them.”
“They will know he’s there, that’s for sure.”
“I wouldn’t like to split them, they are both lovely three-year-olds and they’re both fit and well.”
Casino Action went a strong race first up, sitting parked and fighting on for a meritorious fourth.
The pacer returns to Addington with the benefit of having had that hit out.
“With a couple of hiccups we weren’t able to get a trial into him before that first up run.”
“To sit parked and finish close up was a good effort.”
“He has taken good improvement from that run and he will be harder to beat this week.”
“With his gate speed, Blair should have a few options at the start so there shouldn’t be too many excuses.”
Invitation Only returns to grade racing after running a creditable fourth behind Sand Wave in the Listed Sires Stakes Magnifique.
“It was a bit of a tactical affair as the small fields can be.”
“But he actually hit the line super and finished pretty close up.”
“He has trained on nicely since that run and he should be very competitive on Friday night.”
Kentuckiana Lodge have two runners heading to Timaru on Sunday and both look genuine winning chances.
Mitsi Gaynor copped an unlucky run in her last outing at Addington and just needs some clear air to show her best.
“She got knocked over in the straight at Addington so we just had to put a line through that run.”
“She ran some nice sectionals to win before that and if she can race up to that level she will be very competitive on Sunday.”
Ajira has been in sparkling form this time in and will be out to continue that at Timaru.
Barrier 9 looks the biggest challenge for the three-year-old.
“The draw is going to make things tricky, 9 can be a tough spot at Timaru over the sprint trip.”
“But the horse is racing well so it will be up to Carter to weave some magic and find him a nice run.”
Carter Dalgety drives both Ajira and Mitsi Gaynor on Sunday.