Whilst I am an ambassador for Harness Racing Victoria, I am honest enough to admit that Sydney’s Carnival of Miracles is as good a carnival as there is in this part of the world.
The format has altered, so it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out, but the middle night of this awesome carnival packs plenty of punch with four Group 1’s, a Group 2 and heats of the NSW Derby for the classic aged colts & geldings.
Victoria keeps on keeping on as well with an all-trotting card, highlighted by the Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix.
Let’s dive into a momentous evening of Harness Racing!
New South Wales Oaks Final (2400m, Group 1, $200,000)
1 ANNTONIA – $4.40
David Thorn was the previous trainer of Expensive Ego, so his Chariots win would have been bittersweet. Here is his chance to get some of his own Group 1 glory. This filly has had nine runs for four wins and five seconds, without ever failing so she’s a serious racehorse and gets every opportunity to upend the Emma Stewart force.
7 BEACH MUSIC – $7
An ever-improving filly with scope and size. She’s regally bred and whilst all Oaks heats were ran cosily last week, her win was arguably the pick of the bunch. Looks a horse who will keep improving and this is a race that has thrown up a real filly on the up and this is the one I’m picking.
10 TOUGH TILLY – $2.20
Looked in real strife halfway up the long Menangle straight in her heat but driver Kate Gath said her filly was guilty of gawking and not remaining focused at her first attempt at the big track.
You can be sure there’s an early move from Tough Tilly but things will get real ugly real quick should she cop any bad luck.
Best Blowout – Rogue Wave $14: Has been a rung below them but was close to running straight past Tough Tilly last week.
Allied Express Sprint (Group 1, $100,000)
1 MACH SHARD – $7
A gun Kiwi who competed in, and won some of New Zealand’s biggest races. Coming from the Barry Purdon barn to Team McCarthy, you cannot expect a heap of improvement but all the word coming from Sydney is that this horse is humming.
He loves trailing speed but who exactly you hand up to is very, very confusing and will be a crucial decision for John McCarthy.
3 MAX DELIGHT – $4
Measuring this guy up with some of these hardened open class stars is tricky but the talent Max Delight possesses is limitless. He’s won big races at Menangle and possesses enormous gate speed. Problem is, he’s just two runs back from a long injury ailment so whether this horse is ready to lead and run 1:48 is a real question mark in my mind.
4 WOLF STRIDE – $5
I was surprised when he turned up for the Terang Cup instead of the Miracle Mile qualifiers and I am even more surprised to see him backing up here. He drops back from the staying trip of a country cup into the speed of this race but he’s a horse who does have plenty of Menangle experience. His Cup win last weekend was arrogant and there’s no question he can compete in this race. I expect him to be who drifts when the market decides who it wants to be with.
6 ALTA ORLANDO – $7
His career was ailing until he produced a magnificent run behind Lochinvar Art in the Hunter Cup from behind the leader. He beat everyone else home convincingly in that event and could be back to his best.
The barrier is tricky but he’s one of a fair few who possesses significant gate speed.
Best Blowout – Cruz $13 – Will start at least double his current price but loves the Menangle mile and has beaten some quality horses over his preferred trip of the mile.
Schweppes Sprint (Group 1, $100,000)
2 KING OF SWING – $1.30
Strangely enough, the $1.30 on offer is a genuine gift. He will start beneath $1.20 and beat these in a cake walk. He will lob on the fence and nothing will cause his any grief from the breeze. Would need to go significantly below his best to be beaten.
Gets the perfect prep leading into a lethal Miracle Mile whilst his rivals cop a brutally run Allied Express Sprint or have to prove their fitness in between races one and two…
Best Blowout – Bright Energy $13 – Will also start longer but his win over Cash N Flow was sweet and he performed well in the Newcastle Mile from an uncomfortable position outside the lead.
Pryde’s Easifeed Ladyship Mile (Group 1, $200,000)
5 MAAJIDA – $4.40
There was money for this horse last week and the money was right!
Held them off the arm in a fast opening split and was gritty all the way to the post, holding off Bettor Enforce and Rocknroll Angel in a 1:50.3 mile. You wonder what the first brutal mile can take out of a horse, particularly off the back-up but she’s got all the attributes you want in a Ladyship Mile winning mare.
7 BETTOR ENFORCE – $2.80
Man, it’s hard to see this grand mare changing results based on the way she went last weekend. She ripped off the arm and worked early but then had some nice 1-1 cover but was fairly plain up the lane, falling into fourth.
Luke McCarthy may weave his magic and turn her around but she’s crazy odds and I doubt she even starts favourite.
9 STYLISH MEMPHIS – $3.70
A lovely mare who has always been among the very best of her heritage. Her Chariots run was full of merit and had a ‘back me next start’ sign all over it as she closed hard for fourth, coming from last.
She cops another wide alley but should settle closer and the speed could be on here again. A definite winning chance.
Best Blowout – No Win No Feed $13 – Has made it a habit to upstage the fancied runners in big Group 1 or Group 2 races.
Race One – 1 BAD TO THE BONE – gun Kiwi who does prefer the long trip but should win this easily. Well backed early.
Race Two – 11 PITCH PERFECT – like the value here but not a race I’ll be betting into.
Race Three – 1 MACH SHARD – tough tough tough race to pick but like this guy’s ability to trail, coil and qualify. Each way.
Race Four – 2 KING OF SWING – looks a stone cold certainty to claim another Group 1.
Race Five – 12 EYE CAN FLY – again, a very difficult race to pick with some sight unseen fillies. Watch them go round.
Race Six – 9 STYLISH MEMPHIS – loved her as a filly and love her as a mare. Could get some favours this week.
Race Seven – 7 BEACH MUSIC – a progressive filly with so much to like. Is a juicy each way price.
Race Eight – 1 PATSBEACHSTORM – won me over with a thumping win over average horses at Newcastle.
Race Nine – 2 ELECTRIC EYE – happy to be with this fella each way rather than take the shorts about Idyllic.
Race Ten – 3 TASTY DELIGHT – should get every conceivable chance from the front.
BEST BET: R1 N1 Bad To The Bone
BEST VALUE: R7 N7 Beach Music
BEST BLOWOUT: R6 N4 No Win No Feed