Smart pacer Five Card Draw has raced himself into the Brisbane winter carnival.
The former New Zealand two-year-old Pacer of the Year has proved to be an astute mid-season purchase for big spending owner Dean Shannon and his trainer/driver Darrel Graham.
Arriving in Australia back in February, the highly decorated pacer has now managed to win six races at Albion Park while running eight minor placing’s and banking close to $70,000 in prizemoney.
His latest victory on Saturday night was quite easily his best winning performance since crossing the Tasman.
Starting a heavily backed favourite in the $16,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final, Five Card Draw was chased off the gate at the start but galloped soon afterwards.
Losing valuable ground, Five Card Draw managed to reset fairly quickly with Graham saving as much ground as possible by racing against the pegs.
With Victorian three-year-old Diamond Ace setting cracking sectionals in front, Five Card Draw continued to make ground along the inside before forcing clear approaching the home turn and race away from Ida Tiger and Floyd Mayweather over the concluding stages.
The winning mile rate of 1;54.1 is a new ‘PB’ for the Bettors Delight gelding.
“That was a great victory and clearly his best winning performance since joining my stable earlier this year. After making that crucial error early, he had no right to finish off the way he did – that was a fantastic effort.” Graham said.
So taken by the winning effort, Graham is now looking at the Queensland winter carnival features starting with the Gr.3 $45,000 4 & 5yo Championship at Albion Park on July 12.
“His recent form surge proves he deserves his opportunity in some of these better events during the next month, at this stage I will tackle the 4 & 5yo Championship followed by the 4yo Championship and then I’ll take a look at the Redcliffe Cup.
“He proved he can handle the standing start conditions when he contested the Premiers Cup series recently, his effort in the final behind Major Moment was his best run for me because he was so brave after doing all the work in track record time while the winner came via the sprintlane.
“He’s low flying currently and I’m prepared to give him his chance in these upcoming features; he’s fit and healthy and he should relish a genuine tempo while being driven cold and saved for one run at them. We’ll give it a good crack anyway.”
The Fernvale based mentor will have Sign To Inverell tackling the open class features in the next month starting with Saturday night’s Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park where he will meet champion pacer Im Themightyquinn, current track record holder Suave Stuey Lombo and the flying Avonnova among others.
Comeback pacer Lanercost will skip this week’s sprint feature after missing last week’s open class event because a small niggling injury.
By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)