Hot tips for the Cup: The zone where race changes course
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WITH a bird's eye view of the Ipswich Cup, Alan Thomas is well qualified to comment on how exciting the finishes can be.
Watching 30 Ipswich Cups has given him a valuable insight into how quickly the race can change over the 2150m journey.
"What makes the Ipswich Cup a really interesting race to call is that when they get to that XXXX Gold sign over there at the 600m (mark) and they all take off,'' he said.
"That's where the race changes and from a race caller's point of view, you really have to be in the zone there because that's where it all happens.
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"The horses are coming and going left, right and centre, and they come in four or five and six wide. You don't always see the colours exact. You might just get a glimpse of a sleeve, or a bit of a cap, or whatever.''
Brave Ali's front-running effort last year was a rare occurrence in the Cup. "Not many do,'' Thomas said reflecting on Tegan Harrison's terrific ride.
Thomas has been calling for Sky Racing for 23 years. He also had a 13-year stint in other sports at Channel Nine.
He enjoys calling on Ipswich Cup Day.
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"As strange as it may seem, even though the straight is not very long, it's amazing how far back in the field on the home turn a horse can come to win here, if the speed is on,'' he said.
"In big fields, there's always horses that are drawn badly and some have to get going.
"In fast run races, I've seen horses win on this track. They can be 16 from the home turn and win here. And when they finish, they finish quickly out wide and they come late and they come fast.
"They are good to watch. Probably not so good from the commentator's point of view but from a public perception, they are good to watch.''
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