Day At The Track

Rematch between two exciting pacers

06:59 PM 25 Jul 2016 NZST
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Emain Macha
Emain Macha

The two semi-finals of the Sky Racing Southern Cross for harness racing two-year-old colts & geldings (1800m) has set the stage for a rematch between two exciting pacers Globe Derby Park.

Emain Macha (Safari), with his semi-final win, became Australia’s most winning two-year-old taking his number of victories this season to seven, one ahead of a group on six.

However, he has tasted defeat once, at the hooves of Deeceeten, which was a brilliant winner of the other semi-final meaning the barrier draw will be of big significance on Tuesday.

Backed from $2 into $1.60 favourite, Deeceeten showed in his semi-final that he is not a once dimensional pacer.

Nykea Courage ($2.20 to $3.50), a stablemate of Emain Macha, drove through from gate two to hold out the David Jack trained-and-driven Deeceeten which began well from barrier six.

At his debut run, Deeceeten had led and run along, but on Saturday night, Jack opted to drop in behind Nykea Courage and take a trail and the big horse settled well.

The Jill Neilson-trained Opinionated made a lightning move around the outside to sit outside the leader and driver Dani Hill put the pressure on and went clear coming off the back allowing Jack to bring Deeceeten off the inside and come wide.

Glenrae Hanover, trained and driven by Dale Afford, sprinted very quickly past the 300m mark and looked likely to swoop to the lead but Opinionated responded, then Deeceeten wound up and dashed through.

On the line, Deeceeten had six metres to spare from Opinionated ($17.40) with Glenrae Hanover ($8.90) four metres away third.

Jack was delighted with the further improvement by Deeceeten and very happy the colt had shown he could settle back in a field.

Emain Macha was an unbackable $1 money back favourite in the second semi-final of the Sky Racing Southern Cross but didn’t have everything his own way with the Ray Holberton-trained Stars Of Courage proving again he is a racehorse with plenty of ability.

Stars Of Courage has shown ability but is still learning about racing and can get fired up which doesn’t help his winning prospects.

Emain Macha, trained by Greg Scholefield at Naracoorte and driven by Jock Dunlop, led from gate two but Dani Hill had Stars Of Courage ($13.80) away quickly from barrier four and had a dip for the lead but the favourite was keen to stay in control.

Stars Of Courage again raced quite keenly but the pair raced side by side for the rest of the race.

With quarters of 30.9 and 31.7 early the race was set for a sprint home and so it proved with 29.3 and 28.0 final quarters and Emain Macha prevailed by 1-1/2 metres but the third horse Aquaflight ($11.80) was 18 metres away third.

While Emain Macha will be further improved by the run and will go into the final at peak fitness, Deeceeten and Stars Of Courage showed enough that the final should provide an exciting contest.

by Graham Fischer

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