Day At The Track

Can Frith overcome wide draw again?

08:34 PM 10 Dec 2015 NZDT
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Frith
Frith

The big question harness racing punters are posing is can champion six-year-old Frith overcome the outside barrier and win the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon.

The daughter of Four Starzzz Shark gave a further sample of her class on Friday of last week when she overcame the outside barrier (No. 9) to win the $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic by a head from the fast-finishing Ideal Alice.

She was driven with great aggression by Chris Voak, who urged her forward when the mobile barrier released the field rise. Frith was trapped four wide early before moving to the breeze outside the pacemaking Nuala. She took a narrow lead 400m from home and held on grimly to withstand the late challenge from Ideal Alice, who had enjoyed a soft run in sixth place, three back on the pegs. 

Voak is again likely to make use of Frith’s excellent gate speed, but he is likely to find considerable opposition in his quest for the breeze, or the lead.

Adding considerable interest will be the inclusion of the Dean Braun-trained Nike Franco, who was second emergency in the Norms Daughter Classic.

Nike Franco, with Luke McCarthy in the sulky, will have many admirers, particularly after drawing the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Nike Franco was most impressive at Pinjarra on Monday when she began speedily from barrier three, set the pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 26.7sec. to beat Sovereign Faith by more than five lengths at a 1.56.6 rate over 2185m.       

Another Victorian mare, Milly Perez, to be driven by Chris Alford for trainer Larry Eastman, will start from the No. 1 barrier and looks set to gain a perfect passage behind the likely leader Nike Franco. She was a sound third behind Frith and Ideal Alice on Friday of last week and is capable of a bold showing.

Another Victorian mare Berisari, a fast-finishing second to Leda McNally two starts ago, has drawn poorly, out wide at barrier eight. She will need luck from there, but cannot be underestimated.

Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice has two in-form runners in The Parade and Kiralin. He will drive The Parade from barrier four and the mare looms as a solid each-way prospect. Kiralin will start from the No. 3 barrier and will be driven by American ace Tim Tetrick.  

Ideal Alice will need luck from barrier six and if the race is run at a helter-skelter pace noted sit-sprinter Jungle Jewel would be capable of unwinding a powerful late sprint.

Ken Casellas

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