Victorian Harness Racing’s Summer of Glory carnival has grown exponentially across the past few years to the point where we have added another Group 1 race to the agenda.
Ballarat Pacing Cup was the unofficial beginning to the SOG, now it’s the official beginning and the carnival climaxes with a monstrous double-header next weekend with the Great Southern Star on Friday evening into the Hunter Cup on the Saturday evening.
However, somewhere in the middle we’ve added ‘Classic Night’ where three-year-olds can have a crack at Group 1 glory and $100,000 in prize money as well as the Group 1 VL Dullard Cup for the trotters and the Casey Classic which will see a handful of horses looking to stake a claim for a place in the big one next week.
Classic Night shapes as a perfect entree leading into SOG3 and SOG4, however it’s unfair to label a card with this much depth an entree.
Here is how I see Classic Night playing out… hopefully we all back a winner or three!
VHRC CADECEUS 3YO CLASSIC (1720m, Group 1, $100,000)
With a few looking towards the NSW Derby in a few weeks time, it’s a shame the inaugural running of this event does not draw a superstar bunch but what we do have is a major hype horse with superstar potential and a few talented, albeit unknown, commodities looking to upset.
David Moran-prepared gelding Patsbeachstorm has ginormous wraps on him but he’s new to the caper and to my eye, is yet to beat anything or real quality. He gets the gate to dominate but perhaps he’s vulnerable late should anything try and rough him up at the start.
Helluva looks a nice type for John Justice and was impressive at his Aussie debut and there’s a nice chance he can get in behind the favourite, therefore making him a huge hope at running 2nd – or even winning.
Bondi Lockdown is a talented animal coming from a hugely in-form yard and Act Now has the best record of anything in the race but gate 10 over the short trip hurts. Seeing some market support for him would interest.
My play – Small win bet 10 ACT NOW, small win bet 2 HELLUVA, bigger PLACE bet 2 HELLUVA
V.L. DULLARD TROTTERS CUP (2240m, Group 1, $50,000)
Making the normally easy trip across from NZ is Majestic Man and driver Brad Williamson to add plenty to this race and what is lying ahead next week.
Majestic Man is among the very best trotters in NZ and thrives on mobile, short-course racing. I am certain he’ll lead here and pretty certain he will win. Over a mile, I’d have him $1.20.
Majestuoso is an ultra-talented horse whose best may still be some way off but on sheer talent and speed, I give him some hope from out the back. It’s likely Kate Gath will need to make a three-wide solo move at the half mile. A large task but one he may well be up to.
Stable mate Monaro Maro has been improving in front of our eyes. To the point that should John Caldow get to the pegs with this mare then she is almost my second pick in the race and has a chance to upstage Majestic Man up the lane. She’s a real nice 1×4 play in my humble O.
I’d be staggered to see anything else winning.
My play – Small win, decent place bet 2 MONARO MARO
ALLIED EXPRESS CASEY CLASSIC (2240m, Group 2, $50,000)
We’ve seen some magnificent renewals of this race and this is not one of them – on paper at least. A real even bunch fighting for a shot at $500,000 next week in the big one.
I think Reactor Now leads, but I doubt he can lead and win a race like this where moves will be made early and often. Mister Wickham will be desperate to hold leaders back and Our Uncle Sam is likely to occupy the breeze – a position he knows well.
Always Fast should get a decent run and Malcolms Rhythm and Bettor Be The Bomb will be hoping each other initiates the three-wide train because whoever gets the cart up has a real chance at swamping the leaders late.
It’s a race where I could even see a Jamieson Steele or Alpine Stride upending them.
My play – Nothing of interest, go wide in the quaddie.
Tips for the night;
Race 1 – 2 DELIGHTFUL MIA each way.
Race 2 – 4 JILLIBY LORENZO each way.
Race 3 – Nope.
Race 4 – Not keen, small on 2 YORKSHIRE.
Race 5 – 5 WATCH LIST each way.
Race 9 – 4 HAVEHORSEWILLTRAVEL win.