A sweet weekend of Harness Racing is on the cards with a handful of quality Group 1 events set to take place across Australia and over in New Zealand.
Friday evening sees the NZ Messenger and Rowe Cup at Group 1 level, plus a big event for the baby girls. Later on that night, the famed WA Pacing Derby is held at Gloucester Park in downtown Perth with a few serious three-year-olds in the mix.
24 hours later, we see 420k up for grabs with the four-year-old boys and four-year-old mares in action.
With a bevy of short priced favourites, it’s either a weekend for a big all-up or taking your chance to get the shorties beaten and find some value on the punt.
Here are the races I’ll be locked in on…
NZ MESSENGER – Group 1, 100k
Copy That was challenged but held off a similar bunch last week winning the Taylor Mile. He draws two here and looks a certain leader with a very similar speed map to last week on the cards. Amazing Dream had no chance coming wide off a 26-second final quarter and gate four will see her either in the breeze or 1-1 this week. She will keep Copy That honest but beating him looks tough.
Bad To The Bone should be known to us Aussies after a successful stint in Sydney. That racing seasoned him nicely for last week, where he really challenged Copy That to the line. Barrier five may mean he’s the likely breeze horse, where over 2700m, winning will take a mighty feat.
Steel The Show gets another perfect opportunity to use his speed off the arm and slide in behind Copy That and grab Group 1 prize money. Need You Now may also get the cheap run three back on the pegs.
1 Copy That $1.55
2 Amazing Dream $4
3 Steel The Show $18
4 Bad To The Bone $8
4YO ENTIRES/GELDINGS APG FINAL – Group 1, 210k
The likely leader, coming off a blistering race track return, Miracle Mile-placed and a Chariots of Fire champ… how far Expensive Ego!?!
The McCarthy charge looks set for a payday in this 210k APG Final. He came unstuck in the Bonanza around Melton but the smaller track looks his only obstacle in what could be a genuine margin job.
Mach Dan has been unbeaten this campaign but will need to go to a frighteningly new level to upend Expensive Ego. He begins from nine, which may not be a great alley trailing out Soho Senna.
Pacifico Dream is a quality horse but it’s likely he’s parked up with Expensive Ego scooting home in less than 54 seconds.
1 Expensive Ego $1.22
2 Mach Dan $5.50
3 Pacifico Dream $8
4 Jilliby Nitro $17
4YO MARES APG FINAL – Group 1, 210k
The female version of this 210k Final is a very weak event – there’s no hiding from that fact.
Starsbythebeach gets the best barrier (2) and should be an early pace-maker. Queenslander Pelosi is a chance of crossing them and leading and from there she’d be a winning chance.
John Yeomans’ duo It’s Beaujolais and It’s Ebonynivory ran the quinella in the heat of this event but both have less than ideal barriers – seven and nine respectively.
After that bunch, gee it’s hard to see anything else winning with some very lowly rated horses making this big final.
1 Pelosi $1.40
2 It’s Beaujolais $5.50
3 Starsbythebeach $18
4 It’s Ebonynivory $5.50
WA DERBY – Group 1, 200k
Some impeccably bred and wildly talented horses come through West Australian Derbies and there seems to be a couple more in this version of the 2536m Group 1.
Boom gelding from the Hall stable, Jumpingjackmac, gets gate four and will be aiming to lead them all the way. Hall Sr was quoted on radio making some large statements about this horse so that must be respected.
Lavra Joe was the all in favourite before landing with gate 10, which means decisions will need to be made at the start – drive for luck or take the long way home!?!
Mighty Ronaldo is a nice type who should get the charmed run behind Jumpingjackmac, unless the WA style kicks in and trainer/driver Justin Prentice wants to keep the top.
Sugar Street is some place hope from a cheap pegs run.
1 Jumpingjackmac $1.40
2 Mighty Ronaldo $10
3 Lavra Joe $3.80
4 Sugar Street $21