Day At The Track

Harding quartet set for fresh challenge

08:00 AM 09 May 2020 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Geoff Harding, harness racing
Geoff Harding

Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding believes all four of his hopes can make the $100,000 Regional Championship final on May 23 but a lack of harness racing may mean some will have a better chance in round two of the heats at Newcastle Paceway.

Round one of the series, open to Australian-bred pacers over four years old and rated under 71 on handicap, will be held on Saturday night at Newcastle with five heats offering the winners a spot in the decider.

Remarkably, Harding and his son Matthew, who will drive the horses, have the favourites in four heats.

Jasper Styles (Tiz A Masterpiece) has gate one in heat one and was the $2.50 top pick on Friday, just ahead of Clayton Harmey-trained Western Weir ($2.60).

Rocknlachlan (Rock N Roll Heaven) was a $1.55 chance from gate four in heat two, Roll With Lachlan (Roll With Joe) was $1.85 from the same barrier in the third, while The Choreographer (A Rocknroll Dance) was the $2.20 favourite from three in the fourth.

Harding was thrilled with the barriers, taken from a random draw, for his team, but he was wary of facing fitter opposition.

Jasper Styles and Roll With Lachlan are second-up, while their two stablemates are first-up this preparation.

"They are going as good as they can be without racing," Harding said.

"They probably lack a little bit of racing but I've been working them pretty well.

"I had Jasper Styles and The Choreographer nominated for races but they never got runs, so I've missed out on a run there that would have topped them off beautifully.

"But The Choreographer had a really strong trial the other week and he went really good.

"Rocknlachlan is coming back from a fairly long spell and when they had this big race coming up, I just kept him ticking over, just waiting for it, and the same with his brother, Roll With Lachlan.

"Roll With Lachlan has had one run back and he went well that night [when second]. It was his first since January and it was only three weeks ago, so they will know he's in the race. But he's in the hardest race, I'd say.

"I think ours can be right in this with no bad luck and if everything goes to plan."

Horses which fall short of qualifying on Saturday night can back up in the second round of heats next Friday night.

Harding believed his team would be better for their efforts in round one.

"If anything needs a bit of a run, hopefully they can improve on that and they'll get in the second night," he said.

"It would be nice to win a couple of heats, get a couple into the final and get that out of the way.

"But they should all go all right."

The series, one of four across the state, replaces the Million Dollar Pace, which had to be abandoned because of the regionalisation of the industry under COVID-19 restrictions.

The conditions of the series, which include the races at 2030 metres, have suited the Harding stable.

"They are great races, it's good money and close to home," he said. "The 2000m suits us even better because all of ours are pretty tough."

He believed Rocknlachlan and Roll With Lachlan were his best hopes.

"Rocknlachlan has got the form and if he was rock hard, none in that series would get near him," he said.

Craig Kerry

Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: