The Breeders Crown Series has reached the finals with eight Group 1 races on offer. Once again Trent Orwin is back with his preview and betting tips for a big night of harness racing!
The first of eight Group 1 races on Breeders Crown Finals Night is for 3YO trotting fillies and the barrier draw has made this an intriguing contest. (13) Liberty Stride may have the most ability in the race, but she has galloped in two of her three starts in Australia. That is far from ideal when drawn the car park so happy to overlook at $2.50. (9) I Am Pegasus has won eight from 12 in her career for trainer Joe Vassallo. She is generally a leader and may not be able to do that here unless someone surrenders to her. Three starts ago she won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series (2240m) and should be fighting out the finish. (11) Sunnys Little Jestic is the other main winning chance.
The babies do battle with the trotting colts and geldings clashing. Not too many winning hopes in this race and (7) Ultimate Stride for trainer Phil Williamson and driver Anthony Butt looks hardest to beat. He has barrier seven to overcome but does have a class edge on rivals and has won all three Australian starts. Ultimate Stride was third in the Harness Jewels in June and that form easily stacks up here. He will work around to the breeze position to sit outside of (1) Is That A Bid who may surrender the position to (3) Powderkeg or Ultimate Stride. Is That A Bid was second to Ultimate Stride in the Group 1 Redwood Classic (2190m). Place hope to (8) Im Daddy Warbucks.
The best filly in Australasia should capture another Group 1 with (3) Our Princess Tiffany the $1.15 favourite. Trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are the top seed when it comes to the training ranks in harness racing and they will showcase that when Our Princess Tiffany strolls to victory and takes her prizemoney above $800,000. It is wide open for the placings and I’d prefer to leave the race alone.
The Andy Gath-trained Majestuoso has been trotting brilliantly for eight wins this season from 10 starts. He was beaten by (12) All Cashed Up in their heat; that horse led and Majestuoso was around 20m away with a lap to run. He flew home to just miss and should have that trotter covered as they both draw poorly. (1) Xebec and (3) Kyvalley Clichy are the dangers from good draws. I still favour Majestuoso to either be put into the race early or come with one run and prove too quick for rivals in the home straight.
Clearly the race of the night is for the 3YO pacing colts and geldings. It is David Aiken v Emma Stewart in this heavyweight clash. (2) Max Delight will lead and have either (10) Demon Delight or (11) Lochinvar Art racing outside of him. Aiken trains Max Delight and (7) Malcolms Rhythm who is an each-way chance in the race. Stewart prepares Demon Delight and (4) Out To Play while Laura Crossland trains Lochinvar Art. Despite saying it was a heavyweight clash between Aiken and Stewart (that was merely due to the number of runners from both stables), Lochinvar Art is a major player here and his odds reflect that. I have settled on Demon Delight however after he was victorious in 1:53.8 for the 2150m at Bendigo. He sprinted a sharp last half which he can do here from closer in the run.
(13) Be Happy Mach would have been very short odds from a good draw, but the outside of the second row ensures a better price, and a competitive race. Trained by Emma Stewart, Be Happy Mach has been the star juvenile pacer with 10 starts for nine wins. He defeated (4) Zeuss Bromac and (11) Mirragon in his heat before defeating the same pair in the semi-final. (1) Perfect Stride comes out of different heat and semi which makes the New Zealand colt harder to line up against Be Happy Mach. I am not sure if Perfect Stride holds the lead or does what is customary in New Zealand and hand up. Be Happy Mach will have to cover extra ground but looks a strong chance to claim another Group 1.
Expect (3) Maajida to lead and win at short odds. She has won six from seven and I am not keen to oppose her in the race. Very even outside of her when trying to find a place bet. Racing on the pegs is generally a good place to be around Melton, especially in big races and driver Chris Alford will have plenty of options with (8) Treasure from barrier eight. She is going to need some luck at some stage; whether that means getting off the pegs straight away or weaving a passage in the final circuit, Treasure looks a strong place contender. She has only missed a place once in 12 starts and she can finish powerfully here.
Not keen on the 2YO trotting fillies’ event to conclude Group 1 racing at Melton. Favourite (9) Jaxnme looks hard to beat and barrier nine looks fairly good. She is $1.50 though and I couldn’t recommend anyone take that price about a juvenile trotter. (8) Im Ready Jet and (11) Dizzysjet look the most likely to fill the placings.
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