Franfield for Legal Light
IT's only April but racing fans will this afternoon get a sneak preview of what is expected to be one of many epic clashes between FRANFIELD and BIGDADDYKOOL.
Horses with contrasting running styles and a two-year age difference, six-year-old FRANFIELD and his four-year-old rival have one thing in common, indisputable stamina which has made them the country's top two stayers.
The Legal Light Trophy, run over nine furlongs and 25 yards, is the season's first major grade one distance race for older horses, setting the tone for the bigger races at the back end of the year after the three-year-olds have completed their classic campaigns.
Facing four rivals, none of whom can match them for class, FRANFIELD and BIGDADDYKOOL have a score to settle, last November's much-disputed 10-furlong Superstakes.
Richard Azan's FRANFIELD was disqualified for drifting BIGDADDYKOOL inside the final half-furlong after getting rid of SEEKING MY DREAM in a terrific stretch battle.
Though they subsequently faced each other in December's Diamond Mile when BIGDADDYKOOL placed second behind SEEKING MY DREAM and FRANFIELD finished down the track in sixth position, today's distance is the ideal trip for both horses.
Unraced since landing the 12-furlong Harry Jackson marathon on New Year's Eve, BIGDADDYKOOL has trained well for the Legal Light, putting down fast exercise times at five, six and seven furlongs this month.
However, while BIGDADDYKOOL was cooling out in his stall earlier this season, FRANFIELD was out and about, placing third behind CAMPESINO at 1300 metres and finishing second to SEEKING MY DREAM in the 1500-metre Chairman's Trophy.
Brought to the boil by Azan, he stubbornly made all the running to beat United States-bred BLUE DIXIE by a short head in last month's 1820-metre Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy.
Though BIGDADDYKOOL ran a big race and was duly awarded the Superstakes in the stewards' room on his first grade one appearance, FRANFIELD literally made all the running that afternoon with 57.0 kilos and had to fight off the country's top miler, SEEKING MY DREAM, the entire way.
The Superstakes all but fell into BIGDADDYKOOL's lap, closing in for the kill in the stretch run, seven pounds lighter than FRANFIELD, who still had enough fight in him to take the race to the wire.
In what is expected to be a match race, FRANFIELD being more pacey makes him the controlling speed in the event. BIGDADDYKOOL is racing for the first time in four months and will find it hard to outfinish his older rival, especially with a four-pound swing out of the Superstakes against him.