Day At The Track

Feature completes APG grand circuit season

03:33 PM 18 Jul 2018 NZST
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Tact Tate,Harness racing
Tact Tate hoping to improve his position on the leaderboard this weekend
Dan Costello photo

The final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place this weekend.

And the destination is Brisbane.

The Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship will conclude the eight leg series and global superstar Lazarus will be crowned Grand Circuit champion following a shocking injury to Soho Tribeca last weekend.

Heading into the final leg, Lazarus held a 99 point lead over Soho Tribeca but victory for the latter would’ve secured a thrilling victory but, unfortunately, a leg fracture sustained in the Sunshine Sprint has wiped out any chance of securing the title.

So, with Lazarus guaranteed the title of Grand Circuit champion for the second straight year, the door has been left open for others to improve their position on the leaderboard or even perhaps, get on the leaderboard for the first time this season.

The Sunshine State feature named after the greatest champion of all-time is staged over the 2680m and features some very richly talented pacers including last week’s feature race winner Tact Tate.

The Amanda Turnbull trained and driven gelding scorched around the Breakfast Creek oval in a time of 1:53.0 taking the sprint feature and now looks to complete the Brisbane feature race double.

In recent times, Hectorjayjay (2017) and Im Themightyquinn (2014) have completed the Queensland double and Tact Tate has a terrific chance of joining that exclusive club.

Possessing blinding gate speed, Tact Tate will start from gate 6 and looks a great chance of finding the pegs early again.

A major threat for Tact Tate could come from within with Atomic Red, prepared by Amanda’s father Steve; the ultra-talented four-year-old produced an eye-catching effort last week behind Tact Tate when fifth after starting from a nasty second-line draw.

The rise in distance will suit Atomic Red and the ideal front-line draw (4) is another major plus.

With the Turnbull name synonymous in harness racing, the father/daughter combination have filled a top two finish on many occasion but are yet to achieve the feat in a Grand Circuit event.

Can they etch their names into the record books this weekend?

Champion trainer Tim Butt is no stranger to Grand Circuit glory and is represented by a pair of outstanding chances with My Field Marshal and Let It Ride.

My Field Marshal (1:46.9), the fastest pacer in Australasia, is looking to bounce back following a flop performance last week in the Sunshine Sprint when finishing at the rear of the field after racing three-wide throughout.

A runner-up in this event last year, My Field Marshal will start from gate 11 with Anthony Butt taking the drive.

Let It Ride, a proven Gr.1 winner, will start from gate 3 with Dexter Dunn booked to drive.

A winner of his past five starts, Let It Ride makes his debut at the Grand Circuit level but looks ready following his victory at the track last week.

Victorian trainer Dean Braun is chasing his maiden Grand Circuit victory with classy mare Carlas Pixel, the Gr.1 Ladyship Mile winner must overcome gate 13 – the outside of the second-line.

The regally bred mare will again have the services of star reinsman Luke McCarthy.

Cruz Bromac, a winner of the Gr.1 Len Smith Mile two starts ago makes his Albion Park debut and faces a second-line draw after landing gate 10.

The Kevin Pizzuto trained gelding disappointed last start at Menangle when finishing 7th.

Perennial Albion Park performer Ultimate Art returns to Brisbane and tackles the staying feature following some strong efforts of late at Menangle.

Under the care of Queensland born but Sydney based Shane Sanderson while regular trainer Michael Formosa holidays in Malta, Ultimate Art will start from gate 9.

Ultimate Art finished third in this race back in 2016 behind Ohoka Punter and Hectorjayjay.

Young Cameron Hart takes the drive.

Another Sydney trained runner is Celestial Arden for Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris, the talented gelding has drawn poorly in gate 7 – the outside of the front-line.

Celestial Arden was a runner-up last week behind Tact Tate in the Sunshine Sprint.

Leading trainer Grant Dixon is duly represented by Alleluia (gate 1) and 2016 winner Ohoka Punter (gate 12).

Both pacers are racing in excellent form.

Proven Albion Park feature race winner Glenferrie Hood starts in his second Blacks A Fake (9th in 2016) and will start from gate 5.

Pete McMullen takes the drive for trainer Wayne Graham.

Bodhi Tree tackles his biggest challenge to date the injury prone pacer continues to defy the odds and boasts outstanding recent form.

Prepared by Peter Greig and Patrice Madden, the Blissfull Hall gelding will start from gate 2.

Giant former New Zealand gelding Hughie Green is listed as the emergency (gate 8).

In total, the 13 runners have won 265 races while amassing more than $5.48 million in stakes.

The UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is scheduled as race 8 and listed to start at 8.40pm local time.

 

Chris Barsby

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