Day At The Track

Beautide still on track for Victoria Cup

12:01 AM 19 Jan 2015 NZDT
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Beautide - Still on track for Victoria Cup
Beautide - Still on track for Victoria Cup

Harness racing champ Beautide will go into the Victoria Cup without a lead-up race.

Another untimely virus forced Beautide's scratching from the Bendigo Cup and ruined a much anticipated rematch with Christen Me.

Trainer-driver James Rattray hoped to find another suitable race, but opted not to tackle the standing-start Shepparton Cup next Saturday night.

"There's no race for him I think suitable, so it'll just be a trial now. It's not ideal, but he's had a big build up and is still very close to his top," he said.

"Of course you'd like a lead up run, but it's not too be. We haven't had the best run of things since the Miracle Mile.

"He'll still run a great race in the Victoria Cup and be able to have the two runs before the Inter Dominion.

Rattray said Beautide developed an elevated temperature Thursday.

"He was a lot better by Friday, but I wasn't willing to take any chances with him, so I scratched from Bendigo," he said.

"He's better again today (Saturday) and I'll find a trial for him to have a really serious hit out."

That's likely to be at Melton on Tuesday.

Beautide's setback has seen his odds continue to ease for the Victoria Cup. He opened $4.5 with the Aussie TAB and has continued to ease. He's now on the fourth line of betting at $6.50.

In contrast, he remains a clear $4.20 favourite to successfully defend his Inter Dominion crown.

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Star Western Australian pacer David Hercules Is still set to tackle the Victorian Cup despite being beaten in the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup.

Trainer David Thompson said he was "incredibly proud" of his charge, who did a power of work in the gruelling 2936m epic and still ran a mighty second to the Gary Hall Sr trained outsider

The Cup was one of the most hotly-contested Grand Circuit races in recent history, resulting in a scorching 1min57.4sec mile rate for the marathon trip.

"It was always going to be hard from the back row, but I think it was the best run of his career. I'm so proud of him," Thompson said.

"The owners are keen to have a crack at the Victoria Cup and then come back home for his Inter Dominion heat."

Despite his hard run, David Hercules rallied and looked the winner with 80m to go before My Hard Copy flashed and him and snatched victory in the last few strides.

A superb and patient Clint Hall drive was the key to My Hard Copy's win.

"Gee it was a good drive. He was clear last with a lap to go, cut the corner and went through on the inside to pass a few, then got right to the outside before the final bend," Hall Sr said.

"Then he locked wheels on the home bend and thought he'd lost his chance, but the little horse picked himself up again and flew home to win."

It was an amazing ninth WA Cup win for Hall Sr.

"This one was a pleasant surprise. I didn't think I'd have a runner only a month or so ago," he said.

"I'm especially thrilled to win it for Steve Chapman (owner). He's put so much into the sport and never really had much luck until now.

"I didn't nominate any of mine for the Inter Dominion. They are all just nice horses on their own patch."

Hall Sr admitted to being just as excited by the win of his emerging young star Beaudiene Boaz in a ho-hum three-year-old race as he was the Cup win.

"He's my next big thing. He's the best three-year-old I've trained," he said.

"He sat three wide for 400m, then sat outside the leader and raced away in a 55.5sec half to win by 20m and mile rate 1min54.4sec (for 1730m)."

Hall Sr has ruled out a Victoria Derby tilt and said even a NSW Derby trio was unlikely.

"I'm not afraid of anything, but we've got three Inter Dominions coming up in Perth and this horse is my future. I want to look after him now," he said.

Hall Sr trained a staggering six winners on the 10-race card on WA Cup night.

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Emma Stewart now has three of the first six favourites in Hunter Cup markets.

It's the most staggering dominance since the days the Purdon clan trained as one or the late Vinnie Knight "owned" the Grand Circuit.

Despite Stewart's glamour pair Guaranteed and Philadelphia Man having the weekend off, she still found a way to make waves in feature race betting markets.

That's because the enigmatic Restrepo produced one of the more amazing performances of this season so far by thrashing a good field in the Hamilton Cup despite coming from a 30m backmark.

The Aussie TAB slashed his Hunter Cup odds from $21 to $12. Stewart also has the $4.50 favourite Guaranteed and $9 shot Philadelphia Man.

Guaranteed and/or Philadelphia Man are expected to tackle next Saturday's Shepparton Cup.

Restrepo remains a $21 shot for the Victoria Cup on January 31 where Guaranteed is $5 favourite just ahead of Philadelphia Man and Christen Me at $5.50.

"He's taken a couple of runs to get back to his best, but we were thrilled with his run behind Philadelphia Man last week and knew it would improve him a bit further," Stewart said.

"He's a really special horse to us and it's great to have him back to his very best with the big races just around the corner."

Restrepo blasted to the lead in the middle stages of the Hamilton Cup from former Kiwi Arden Rooney, who had found the front, and danced away to beat that horse by almost 22m.

Adam Hamilton - Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

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