Day At The Track

Every minute counts to Vic Cup dreams

04:31 PM 23 Sep 2020 NZST
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Bling It On,Harness racing
Stuart McCormick photo

A start in the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup could well hinge on this Saturday night for many pacing hopefuls, with every prelude to the $300,000 Grand Circuit race on October 10 crucial to gaining favour with handicappers.

A strong performance in the TAB Minuteman Free For All, which will air on Trots Vision at 6.30pm, will likely go a long way, with Group 1 champions Lochinvar Art and Cruz Bromac headlining the $30,000 feature.

Boom horse Ride High is notable for his absence, having been initially nominated but then withdrawn, meaning the much coveted clash with Lochinvar Art is on the backburner at least until the $50,000 TAB Smoken Up Sprint on October 3.

Instead trainer-driver David Moran and his Shepparton superstar will have to contend with reigning New Zealand Trotting Cup champion Cruz Bromac, who will be first up and looking to build on his 23 wins from 52 starts and $1,050,975 in stakes.

His trainer, Amanda Grieve, said her eight-year-old seemed "really good and in a similair space to last year", when he followed his third placing in the Victoria Cup with an unforgettable victory at Auckland's Alexandra Park.

"He’s about as good as we can have him without racing,” said Grieve, who stressed her stable star raced well when fresh.

Lochinvar Art dominates the early betting market, listed a $1.60 chance with TAB.com.au, with New South Wales raider Zennart ($4.60) and Cruz Bromac ($5) the only others in single figures.

Zennart is the first of Luke McCarthy and Craig Cross's crew to descend upon Melbourne, with Balraj, Cash N Flow, Bling It On and Alta Orlando expected to follow, while Hunter Cup champ King Of Swing's hopes of a Victoria Cup start seemingly hinge on covid-19 border restrictions.

Of their team, Zennart appears to have the most to prove to convince handicappers he's worthy of displacing a local in the Victoria Cup field, making the stakes all the higher on Saturday night.

Victorians Sicario, My Kiwi Mate and San Carlo, all 2019 Inter Dominion finalists, will be eager for bold showings Saturday night to boost their claims, while Rackemup Tigerpie, Tam Major, Out To Play, Im Sir Blake, Rocknroll Eyes and Bulletproof Boy would also be hoping to break the door down.

Saturday night's 10-race card kicks off at 3.39pm, with the first three races being shown on Sky Racing 2 to enable racing to be finished by 8.30pm, before the Victorian Goverment's 9pm curfew.

The headline trot at 8pm is the Aldebaran Park Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free For All, which features Anton Golin's Great Southern Star winner Dance Craze, who's $1.90 favourite with tab.com.au.

Stablemate Imsettogo was initially installed a $2.30 favourite before the market was flipped by punters, with the latter easing to $3.40 while Dance Craze tumbled in from his $3.70 opening price. Red Hot Tooth, who last start held off Tornado Valley for an impressive all-the-way win, has eased from $2.80 to $3.40.

Other Saturday night must-sees will be the Hygain 3YO Pace, when Sahara Sirocco and Pacifico Dream resume their duel and are joined by Craig Cross-trained Bomb Suit, a $1.70 favourite, and Marg Lee's impressive Yianni among a deep and talented field.

Breeders Crown (November) and Vicbred Super Series (December) hopefuls will also be prevalent in the Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Pace, where Mick Stanley's pair Soho Brandenburg and Soho Bollinger will lock horns with the likes of Jess Tubbs' duo Sumomentsomewhere and Momentslikethese.

Race caller Dan Mielicki will be joined on Trots Vision by co-host Rob Auber for Saturday night's coverage, guiding trots fans from the VHRC Parade Ring to the Winners' Circle.

Racing will also show on Sky Racing 1 (races 4-10) and Sky Racing 2 (races 1-3), while Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden will headline's SENTrack's coverage and RSN 927's will also broadcast all races.

 

HRV - Michael Howard

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