Welcome to our harness racing preview and betting tips for racing at Albion Park and Melton on Saturday, July 20th.
There's four Group 1s on the card at Albion Park and a solid card at Melton too. Trent Orwin has given his thoughts on the big meetings below!
The leader will be (2) Tom Me Gun who has an excellent record at Albion Park with 10 wins and nine minor placings from 25 starts. He is going to prove very hard to run down. (3) Elle Yeah is one horse in the race that will be some chance of doing that from barrier three with top NSW driver Todd McCarthy picking up the drive. Two starts ago she was second behind Eleniark in 1:52.7, with the last quarter run in 27 seconds. Her last effort was good also and she has each-way claims. (1) Likeallofus is the other main chance in the race.
The first of four Group 1 races at Albion Park will be the Qbred Triad for the 2YO fillies and it is a wide-open race. (1) Ima Beach Babe is the emergency from barrier one and whether she starts or not, could hinder my selection (8) Frost En Ice. The Vic Frost-trained filly won two of her first three starts and has been unplaced at her past three. She raced against the boys last start and her sectional times suggest she will be competitive with a soft run on the pegs. (2) Feels Lika Winner feels like the most likely leader and looks a leading contender here. Ideally, Frost En Ice would be able to trail Feels Lika Winner and look to use the sprint lane. Other chances are (4) Vantori Hanover, (5) Amaya Becomes and (6) Jiggle And Jive in no particular order.
It is hard to go past (4) Self Assured who is unbeaten in five starts for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. His latest run in the Group 3 South East Derby (2138m) was incredible and a repeat performance will see him just win at $1.35. Looking for something else in the race, I am happy to be with the Sonya Smith-trained colt (1) Make Way. He won the Redcliffe Derby (2040m) from the breeze and was fifth behind Self Assured in the South East Derby. He will look for a soft run on the pegs. Whether he trails the leader or three back on the markers, he looks an each-way chance, more so for the place though. (2) Jesse Duke and (10) Our Princess Tiffany are both Purdon and Rasmussen runners who have obvious place claims, with winning hopes if Self Assured doesn’t perform.
The big race of the night is named after one of harness racing’s greatest champions. The Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship looks a great race following the barrier draw with (2) Our Uncle Sam favourite from barrier two. (11) Colt Thirty One and (12) Tiger Tara have drawn the second row which adds much intrigue to the race. Tiger Tara is the best horse in Australia, having won the Inter Dominion Final (2760m) and AG Hunter Cup (2760m). He will work around to sit parked at some stage of the race and should be fighting strongly in the home straight. Our Uncle Sam was runner up in the Len Smith Mile (1609m) two starts ago. He won the Bohemia Crystal FFA (2400m) back in March. Expect him to go close here. Colt Thirty One was beaten last week by (7) Ohoka Punter but looks a strong chance here. (1) Eleniark could surprise and she has each-way claims. (3) Cash N Flow looks next best.
The final Group 1 on the card is for the 2YO colts and geldings. I don’t think (6) Governor Jujon is an odds-on chance from barrier six; he is unbeaten and the horse to beat, but the price is too short in my opinion. Trainer Grant Dixon has eight of the 11 runners and it may seem a little foolish, but I am going to oppose the stable and cheer for the John Boserio-trained (9) Mistery Road. A winner of four from nine starts with all four coming at the start of his career, he has been runner up at his past three and deserves to break through. The colt has had no luck with barriers and barrier nine doesn’t look too bad. He should be running home strongly and looks value in the race. (4) Expensive Ego looks the unknown but must warrant respect. (1) Signor Jujon and (2) Another Statement have barriers to be competitive.
The Our Maestro Free For All (2240m) looks a great race for the Emma Stewart-trained 5YO gelding (4) Phoenix Prince. He is building a nice resume with 19 starts producing 11 wins. The latest was in an M1 Only when putting them away at the 300m mark. The main query is that he has been beaten a few times when leading. His best form looks too good and he should prove hard to beat. (9) Professor Tom is the main danger ahead of (8) Bernie Winkle.
The Group 3 Macarthur FC should see rank outsider (8) Rykov Leis fly the gate to spear across the field at the start. (2) Motu Gatecrasher should settle close to the speed from barrier two. (5) Joes Star Of Mia is the class horse and this looks a suitable race after finishing fourth in the Group 1 Len Smith Mile (1609m) won by Majordan in 1:49.6. Joes Star Of Mia was a beaten favourite three starts ago behind Cash N Flow who is in Queensland for the Blacks A Fake. He was then fourth behind Letspendanitetogetha who is also in the Blacks A Fake. Motu Gatecrasher is an obvious danger, along with (9) Maximan and (7) The Black Prince.
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