Day At The Track

Awesome Anthony a Breeders Crown force

11:30 PM 24 Jul 2008 NZST
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Much-hyped colt Otaktay took another step towards justifying the huge raps on him, but Mister Anthony was the biggest winner from last night's Australasian Breeders Crown three-year-old colts and geldings heats at Shepparton.

The Geoff Webster-trained-and-driven gelding emerged as a bona fide contender for the $188,000 final at Bendigo on "Super Sunday", August 17 with an emphatic win over star attraction Maffioso in the night's third heat.

Despite giving Maffioso a six-metre start turning for home in the 2170-metre qualifier, Mister Anthony rounded up the dual Group 1 with surprising ease in a 29.1-second last quarter for a most impressive win.

On the line the $7 chance had more than two metres to spare over last year's Breeders Crown runner-up, who started the $1.30 favourite, in a 1:59.2 mile rate.

It was the sixth win from seven starts for Mister Anthony, who was only first seen at the races in a restricted race at Ballarat on May 26.

His win was one of two big upsets in the Shepparton heats with Shoot The Dice getting home as a $17 chance in the night's opening qualifier.

The Craig Turnbull-trained gelding came from last at the 600m to upstage a field including Queensland Derby winner and $1.20 favourite Standelle, who tired to finish second-last after setting a frantic early tempo, in a 1:59.2 mile rate.

But Otaktay and classy Allan McDonough-trained former Kiwi gelding Im Mark Antony ensured the night wasn't a complete blowout for punters with solid wins as odds-on favourites in the night's other two heats.

Coolly handled by master reinsman Gavin Lang, injury-plagued Emma Stewart-trained Otaktay extended his unbeaten run to four with an all-the-way 2:02.9 win at $1.60.

Im Mark Antony, a son of Live Or Die, won in similar fashion, overcoming a wide front-row draw to coast him by more than four metres in 2:00.5 at $1.40.

Tonight's winning quartet were the last colts and geldings to race their way through to the semis via the heats. Waiting for them will be interstate and New Zealand heat winners Rohan Home, Magic Operative, Sky Tower, Franco Torro, Alzona, Bronzwhaler Whitby, Absolute Magic and Strike Up The Band.

The remaining semi final spots will be decided at Maryborough tomorrow week (August 1) when the repechage round is conducted.Brad Bishop, Harness Racing Victoria

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