Perfect winter weather, a big harness racing crowd and exciting action on Tabcorp Park Menangle's track ensured the success of Sunday's (June 24) Alabar Breeders Challenge day.
First run in 2008, the Breeders Challenge Finals have grown into a vital ingredient for the success of the harness racing industry in New South Wales with participants striving for victory at the highest level on the biggest stage.
The Susan Hunter stable dominated this year’s feature races winning two of the four Gr. 1 events. Hunter has now won every division of the series with Captain Joy winning both male divisions in 2008 and 2009 while Louvre completed the set taking out last year’s two year old fillies division before returning to destroy her rivals this year.
The daughter ofhas won more than $349,000 in her short career and looks set to add significantly to that tally before motherhood beckons.
Hunter’s other feature winner was two year old filly Married To The Mob driven expertly by leading reinsman Luke McCarthy. Married To The Mob came from the outside barrier to win and was well supported despite being beaten in the semi finals a fortnight earlier.
Trainer Paul Fitzpatrick won the first race of his career in the stewards’ room when No Ah Saint was awarded victory in the two year old colts and geldings Breeders Challenge after first past the post Blissfull Guy was found to have caused interference in the straight to the Gavin Fitzpatrick driven gelding.
No Ah Saint looks set for a bright future and could now head to Melbourne chasing further riches.
The three year old colts and geldings division was dominated by the Emilio Rosati owned Grand Stride with the son oftaking out his second Gr. 1 win of the season. Driven aggressively Grand Stride sat outside leader Waldenburg before racing away to beat Soho Valencia in what was a reversing of the Bathurst Gold Crown result from last season.
Off track activities ensured the large number of families that attended were kept entertained throughout the afternoon and 40 lucky children went home with a new bicycle as part of the giveaways ensuring big smiles on and off the track with the day declared a massive success for the industry.
COURTESY OF HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES
Louvre destroying her rivals:
Married To The Mob:
No Ah Saint: