Day At The Track

Eastman trio out to spoil Willow's party

03:04 PM 06 May 2016 NZST
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Highview Ember lines up in gate seven in the Make Mine Cullen.
Highview Ember lines up in gate seven in the Make Mine Cullen.

Tomorrow night’s Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen will see a crack field of harness racing mares do battle at Tabcorp Park Melton.

Cobbitty trainer Belinda McCarthy will line up My Willow, who is likely to start a pronounced favourite, but a trio from the Eastman camp at Shelbourne will be out to spoil the Sydneysider’s party.

Larry Eastman has Milly Perez and Ponder Girl engaged, while wife Lynette has recent stable acquisition Highview Ember in action.

“Her normal racing pattern is to take a trail at some stage so she will be driven that way. Whether she can zip the pole marker (Wow She’s Smooth) I’m not sure but I’ll leave that up to the master (driver Gavin Lang),” he said.

Ponder Girl was a fast-finishing third in the Silver Chalice behind Starburst Girl last time out and Eastman is desperately hoping there is speed on throughout for her to play a role.

“The barrier draw hurt her last week but she went really well. She is back on track and in good form. She will run really well again, in fact I am sure she will. If we can get some genuine tempo in the race it’s not beyond her to get home over them,” Eastman said.

“She has always had above-average ability. We have looked after her as she has a few little issues soundness wise early on. She has just been a mare that has taken her time but now we are starting to get the rewards.”

For Highview Ember, the new girl on the block, it’s a case of so far, so good.

“She has taken to our system of training really well. She seems to be improving with each run. Even though it is a horror barrier, barrier seven, it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if she ran well,” Eastman said.

“She is one of those mares who could just keep getting better. It probably isn’t her sort of race on Saturday night from that draw in that field but don’t underestimate her going forward.”

Matt Jackson

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