Blair Orange, making a one-man race for the NZ Drivers Premiership for the fourth consecutive year, is searching for a first New Zealand Cup victory with last year's fourth place-getter Cruz Bromac in the $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington on Tuesday.
Victorian-owned Cruz Bromac, who re-joined the all-conquering Allstars stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen for the cup on Labour weekend, is peaking at the right time after a game second to Classie Brigade in last Monday's Kaikoura Cup.
He's one of four top cup contenders for the Allstars, who also house the first and second favourites, Miracle Mile winner Spankem, and last year's NZ Cup winner, Thefixer, and former top 3YO Chase Auckland.
Cruz Bromac, after his Victoria Cup third for Amanda Grieve last month, and his bold Kaikoura Cup effort for co-trainer Mark Purdon, after moving up parked for the final lap in a fast sprint home, sits on the third line of cup betting at nine-to-one.
Purdon is committed to driving reigning NZ Harness Horse Of The Year Spankem, with Natalie Rasmussen, who reined Cruz Bromac to win last year's Group One Woodlands NZ Free-For-All on Show day, continuing her association with Thefixer.
Tim Williams drives Chase Auckland, who has shaped well off the unruly in his latest lead-up racing, including a win in the Methven Cup on October 13 and a close-up fourth in Spankem's Ashburton Flying Stakes on October 28.
Blair Orange, who ended a 10-year run of NZ Driving Premierships for former NZ champion Dexter Dunn, four years ago, will be having his 11th NZ Cup drive on Tuesday.
He's had four top four finishes in the NZ Cup.
He has three previous dividend-bearing placings, twice placing with the former regular honest Hazel Van Opzeeland-owned Allstars performer, Highview Tommy, who finished third to Terror To Love in 2011, while he went a place closer when the runner-up to the mighty "Terror" in 2012.
Blair also guided another Allstars runner Titan Banner into a distant third behind runaway record-breaking 2016 NZ Cup winner, Lazarus, who destroyed his rivals by 10 lengths that year (with Tiger Tara second) in a brilliant 3:53.1 for the 3200m, a staggering mile rate of 1:57.2 over the extreme trip from a stand start.
He also ran fourth behind the Mark Purdon-trained Mighty Cullen in the 2006 NZ Cup, in the first of consecutive NZ Cup wins by Flashing Red.
Blair's full list of NZ Cup drives have been behind Harnetts Creek (2004, 15th), Likmesiah (2005, 12th), Mighty Cullen (2006, 4th), Highview Tommy (2010, 5th), Highview Tommy (2011, 3rd), Highview Tommy (2nd), 2013 Highview Tommy (2012, 12th), Titan Banner (2016, 3rd), Buster Brady (2017, 5th), and Eamon Maguire (2018, 5th).