Sydney’s epic month of racing kicks up another notch this weekend with one of the deepest and most competitive card’s of Harness Racing seen in some time.
Two Group 1 sprints will decide who contests the $1 million Miracle Mile however Thursday morning saw the open class ranks take another drastic blow with Chase Auckland and Self Assured going amiss and being removed from the Carnival.
The female stars of pacing go round in the Group 1 Oaks and Group 1 Ladyship Mile, both $200,000 events.
The baby girls line up for the Group 2 Pink Bonnet and the NSW Derby heats get underway.
Closer to home, Tabcorp Park Melton hosts a massive night of trotting, highlighted by the Group 1 Trotting Grand Prix.
Time to take a deep dive into a magnificent evening of Group 1 Harness Racing…
Race 1 – Two Suns Pace
Max Delight’s scratching sees Demon Delight as the horse to beat, as he’s most likely to lead. Let It Ride has won a Grand Circuit event but his form has been up and down ever since. Balraj will be looking to bounce back but can he win a high pressure race from the breeze ? Bright Energy has been a quick improver as well but gate seven is tricky.
1 Demon Delight $2.80
2 Bright Energy $7
3 Let It Ride $2.30
4 Balraj $3.80
Suggested Bet – Bright Energy each way
Race 2 – Schweppes Lady Drivers Invitational
Form lines converge in this race with plenty of horses all able to make a strong case for top pick.
Culture King ran eighth in a slow Chariots of Fire so he goes on top here.
Also in the mix is Catch A Moment, Superbass and Firestorm Red, who represents great each way value.
1 Culture King $3.30
2 Firestorm Red $8
3 Superbass $3.40
4 Aqua Miss $22
Suggested Bet – Culture King win
Race 3 – Allied Express Sprint (Group 1, $100,000)
After his Hunter Cup triumph, King of Swing gets another look at Group 1 glory thanks to gate three and the scratching of his chief rival, Chase Auckland.
Stable mate, Wrangler, will be dangerous from the pole and Kiwis Another Masterpiece and A G’s White Socks can do some damage late. It’s a tough race and not one I’ll be getting too involved in.
1 King of Swing $2
2 Another Masterpiece $7
3 Code Bailey $7
4 Wrangler $8
Suggested Bet – Wrangler each way
Race 4 – Schweppes Sprint (Group 1, $100,000)
We lose superstar Self Assured but this Group 1 remains a high quality event. Mach Shard is fast off the machine and I expect him to lead then hand up to a horse like Alta Orlando. Former MM champ, My Field Marshal, gets his chance from the ace draw whilst Colt Thirty One and Hail Christian are quality animals.
1 Mach Shard $5.50
2 My Field Marshal $3.20
3 Alta Orlando $4.40
4 Colt Thirty One $5.50
Suggested Bet – Mach Shard each way
Race 5 – Boden Projects Ladyship Mile (Group 1, $200,000)
New Zealanders Belle of Montana and Princess Tiffany reunite in what could even be a dress rehearsal for a Miracle Mile spot. The market will be fascinating as we move towards the jump.
Another Kiwi, Bettors Heats, will loom large from gate one if the top two cut at each other whilst Bettor Enforce and Havtime are outside hopes.
For me, Princess Tiffany’s versatility sees her as my pick but it should be an outstanding clash.
1 Princess Tiffany $2.60
2 Belle of Montana $2.40
3 Bettors Heart $5.50
4 Havtime $41
Suggested Bet – Quinella, Princess Tiffany & Belle of Montana
Race 6 – Allied Express Fran Fitzpatrick Pink Bonnet Stakes (Group 2, $50,000)
Soho Almasi did not win by 65m like one of her stable mates but she was equally as impressive on debut. Despite a sticky gate, she should smack this mob and could even run a nifty time for a new two-year-old filly.
Everything else will pretty much be running for second place.
1 Soho Almasi $1.25
2 Somethingaboutlexy $7
3 Miss Sonic Boom $51
4 Breivika $5.50
Suggested Bet – Soho Almasi into all multi-bets.
Race 7 – John Gibson Memorial New South Wales Oaks (Group 1, $200,000)
Psuedo All Stars runner, Stylish Memphis, landed the ace draw and will start a warm favourite despite some concerns over her ability to hold up early.
Maajida was strong last week despite some thinking she’d be vulnerable whilst Dr Susan keeps on keeping on but will need to be something special to win from gate nine.
Keep Rockin and It’s Beaujolais are worth throwing into exotics.
1 Stylish Memphis $1.70
2 Maajida $4.80
3 Dr Susan $3.70
4 Keep Rocking $26
Suggested Bet – Stylish Memphis win
NEW SOUTH WALES DERBY HEATS
Heat 1 – Smooth Deal, Mach Da Vinci, Zeuss Bromac, Perfect Stride
Heat 2 – Line Up, Mach Dan, Virgil, Pacifico Dream
Heat 3 – Governor Jujon, Youaremy Sunshine, Mirragon, Crunch Time
Race 11 – Woodstock Ladyship Pace
Our Step Up is an excellent mare who almost deserves a Ladyship Mile place so I can see her winning this comfortably.
Beach Garden is yet to deliver for Emma Stewart but they must think enough of her to bring her north whilst Island Banner and She Envy both go into multiples.
1 Our Step Up $2.60
2 Island Banner (Em 1) $3
3 Beach Garden $10
4 Ideal Conquest $2.70
Suggested Bet – Our Step Up win
Time to really challenge myself and try to find a winner in the trotting Group 1’s. I am anything but a squaregaiting expert so this could get ugly quick…
Race 4 – IRT Australia Need For Speed Princess Final (Group 1, $60,000)
Yabby Dam entrant, I’m Ready Jet, has won five from 10 in her brief career and gets gate three, so she’s the logical favourite. Pink Galahs also possesses a 50% career win rate and seems to be on the improve for talented trainer, Matthew Craven.
Illawong Stardust has been running in the money consistently for Jodi Quinlan but gate 10 is troublesome. Maiden runner, Imamaorijet is a big price and could be worth a small each way wager.
1 I’m Ready Jet $1.80
2 Pink Galahs $3
3 Imamaorijet $14
4 Magical $41
Race 6 – Alan Mance Holden Need For Speed Prince Final (Group 1, $60,000)
The classic aged boys set down for battle with a few horses seemingly separating themselves from the pack. Elite Stride is well named and has won two from three. Anthony Butt is in rare form as a trainer and another Group 1 looks good here. The Brent Lilley team – known for producing a few good trotters – has the ace alley with Son of a Whiz whilst Andover Sun is in rich form for the Caldow team.
1 Elite Stride $2.20
2 Andover Sun $4
3 Son of a Whiz $7
4 Dublin Chubb $8
Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series (Group 1, $50,000)
The trotting mares clash here for Group 1 glory. Chris Alford will partner I am Pegasus and she looks incredibly difficult to topple from a nice draw.
Maori Shadow has been in fine form and Miss Blissful hails from the masters of trotting at the moment, Kate and Andy Gath.
1 I Am Pegasus $1.40
2 Miss Blissful $7.50
3 Maori Shadow $14
4 Norquay $11
Race 8 – Hygain Australian Trotting Grand Prix (Group 1, $100,000)
Australia’s top dog, Tornado Valley, secures another opportunity to lead and win – something he has done 18 times without a failure since migrating to Oz.
Red Hot Tooth can make life difficult early for him, but you’d think she’d eventually take the trail. Temporale is drawn between the aforementioned runners and will also be keen to lob somewhere handy for a late dash for the cash.
Arguably the next seed in the race, Dance Craze, draws gate four but it looks tricker than normal with three big guns drawn inside.
Massive Metro looks a nice place hope from gate eight whilst Wobelee is in some pain from a wider front line alley.
1 Tornado Valley $2.10
2 Dance Craze $8
3 Red Hot Tooth $10
4 Temporale $4
The weekend’s best bets;
R8 N1 Red Hot Tooth place
R2 N3 Culture King win
R4 N3 Mach Shard each way
R11 N10 Our Step Up win