Welcome to our harness racing preview and betting tips for racing at Menangle on Sunday, June 30th.
It's an outstaning meeting with SEVEN Group 1s on today's card! Our resident harness racing expert Trent Orwin has assessed every one of the feature races below.
The first of seven Group 1 races should be a one-act affair with (1) Jilliby Nitro leading all-the-way for trainer Margaret Lee and driver Jason Lee. The colt has won six from seven in his career, including the Bathurst Gold Crown Final (1730m) and Australian Pacing Gold Final (1660m). He has won his heat and semi-final by 12.7m and 15m respectively and looks too good. (9) Be Happy Mach is the main danger but will likely have to settle for a minor placing as he will have to race outside of Jilliby Nitro. (3) Saint Emilion and (6) Rockin With Elvis are next best.
Australian Pacing Gold winner (5) Pelosi was a dominant winner of her heat before suffering defeat behind (11) Vincenzina in their semi-final. Pelosi draws inside this time which is a big advantage. She can either work forward and try and get the lead off (1) Michelle Lee Mac, the winner of the Bathurst Gold Tiara Final, or look to settle handy to the speed and outsprint her rivals late. Finding the front would be desired but I don’t know if Michelle Lee Mac will hand up. (2) Keayang Jackie and (3) Didnt I both draw well and won’t be far away.
The 3YO Fillies Final is very competitive with a handful of winning chances and most of them draw next to each other. I am looking at (4) Myra Dawn, (5) Western Secret and (6) Keayang Liberty as leading contenders in the race. (1) Sheeza Malteeza also has gate speed and will be right on the speed. (9) Miss Halfpenny defeated Myra Dawn in her semi-final but barrier nine makes things tougher here. (6) Keayang Liberty narrowly beat Western Secret in the other semi-final. Western Secret tried to run down Keayang Liberty but just missed. She looks capable of going one better in the Group 1.
Gate speed from (1) Lochinvar Art, (7) Hardhitter and (9) Max Delight. I will sit on the fence a little with the speed map; I am leaning towards Lochinvar Art leading, but it wouldn’t surprise if he was crossed either. Due to the inside barrier, Lochinvar Art is clearly the horse to beat and he has been supported. I don’t see any value in the price now. At the same time, I don’t want to take him on because if he leads then he is going to run around the 1:50 mark. Happy to sit back and watch this race.
The open-class pacers line up in the Len Smith Mile and (1) Majordan will lead unless he decides to gallop which can be a trick in his arsenal. Breaking 1:50 is nothing new for this horse and if he behaves, he will run a flying mile and say catch me if you can. (3) Our Uncle Sam is going to be very dangerous from barrier three (two if the first emergency doesn’t gain a start) and he won the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal FFA (2400m) two starts ago in 1:52.3. (6) Ellmers Image is the horse that I really like in the race. A hat-trick of wins, one of them in 1:49.6, came to an end last start when beaten by (12) Cash N Flow. Ellmers Image will be hoping to find cover close to the speed as that will enhance his claims in the race. There are other hopes in the race but the top three in the market are the key chances and Ellmers Image is my top pick.
(12) Ignatius was once touted as the next best horse and only time will tell whether he takes that next step. His current losing streak is five in a career that has seen 17 wins from 26 starts. He was beaten as a $1.28 favourite by (6) Summit Special in his semi-final. His effort was fine and he will be cherry ripe for Sunday’s Group 1. His best form is too good for rivals with his last win coming over Chase Auckland and Rackemup Tigerpie. The barrier hurts as he will have to work but that is something he has done throughout his career. (3) Bright Energy split Summit Special and Ignatius in that semi after leading and he will lead once again. Should go close. Summit Special is also a chance of winning. (11) Sicario and (8) War Dan are smaller hopes.
To say I have no idea with the 4YO Mares Final would be an understatement. I have tried to work out the form for this race but the race looks far too open. I don’t have a strong selection for any runner with at least six or seven winning chances. (3) Molly Kelly or (4) Rocknroll Pearl appear to be the leaders. With little confidence in the race, I would prefer to let them go around without a bet in the race.
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