Day At The Track

Challenging out for a repeat win

07:34 PM 16 Feb 2017 NZDT
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Herne Hill trainer Clint Kimes has engaged Lauren Jones.
Herne Hill trainer Clint Kimes has engaged Lauren Jones.
Jodie Hallows (Paceway Photos)

New South Wales-bred gelding Challenging has returned from a spell in fine style and many punters will pin their faith on him to give them a flying start by winning the opening harness racing event, the TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Herne Hill trainer Clint Kimes has engaged Lauren Jones to drive the five-year-old and by virtue of the concession Jones has as a junior driver, the gelding (classified as a C2 performer) was able to draw the prized No. 1 barrier in the race restricted to C1 to C4-class pacers.

The draw is vital and Challenging has a good chance of setting the pace and winning. Jones drove Challenging for the first time when the gelding led from the No. 2 barrier and raced away to win by just under three lengths from Straittothebar over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week.

Challenging, an all-the-way Penrith winner from his 14 starts in NSW, has been extremely consistent since being purchased by Robin Zec. His 13 WA starts have produced two wins, seven seconds and a third. His chief rivals this week appear to be Just Bet On Black, Questionable Gesture and The Storm Chief.

Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Colin Brown, is a promising four-year-old who has won at four of his 14 starts. He is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line and possesses sparkling gate speed. He will be having his second start after a spell. He resumed at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when he had a tough run without cover and fought on gamely to be third behind Challenging.

The Peter Anderson-trained Questionable Gesture is maturing into a smart four-year-old and he has strong each-way claims from the outside of the back line.

The New Zealand-bred Questionable Gesture is developing a good deal of toughness and his recent form has been excellent. He had a tough run in the breeze before finishing boldly to win from Star Armbro over 2130m last Friday week. He will be driven by Chris Lewis, replacing the suspended Michael Grantham.

Ken Casellas

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