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Shark’s Stranglehold

THIS is Lennytheshark’s Victoria Cup to lose.

This time last week, David Aiken’s champ was $3.50 to win his second Victoria Cup.

Now he’s $1.40 after a sparkling first-up win last Friday combined with drawing the pole for Friday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) at Melton.

Lennytheshark looks close to a certain leader against a Cup field lacking the class and depth of recent years because of the controversial date switch and slashing of stakemoney.

“He’s had his share of bad draws, so it’s nice to get one go his way,” driver Chris Alford said. “He felt fantastic last week.”

Assuming Lennytheshark has the speed to lead, it could come down to tough former Kiwi pacer Tiger Tara to apply the pressure from gate five.

But Tiger Tara is first-up since a fighting third to Hectorjayjay in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park back in July.

Classy former Kiwi pacer My Field Marshal again has the back row (gate 10) as he did when a fast-finishing, but distant second to Lennytheshark in last Friday’s Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint.

The prospect of a more genuine tempo and stretch from 1720m to 2240m will help My Field Marshal’s cause, but he’s still got a huge task ahead to give Lennytheshark a big start and run him down.

The X-factor in the Cup is emerging local San Carlo, who boasts 19 wins from just 22 starts, but his chances were dealt a huge blow by gate seven (outside the front row).

Kerryn Manning has two runners, but won’t drive either because of a commitment as maid of honour at the wedding of champion horseman Vic Frost and Gail Geeson.

Former trainer Ashlee Grives will take the reins on flying mare Ameretto from gate two, while Manning’s husband, Grant Campbell, will be aboard the emerging former Kiwi Mr Mojito (gate 11).






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