Day At The Track

Harper needs a gold nugget

08:19 AM 14 Dec 2018 NZDT
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Kyle Harper, harness racing
Kyle Harper
Jodie Hallows Photo

Sitting on top of Kyle Harper’s Christmas wish list right now is a scratching from tomorrow night’s Group 1 Retravision-Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park.

One scratching would open up the opportunity for Harper to get a drive in the Golden Nugget with Paula Petricevich’s Bettor B Abeliever and it would also see the likely scratching of that pacer from the Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace (2130m) on Saturday night at same venue.

Should Bettor B Abeliever come out of Saturday night’s event, it will make Harper’s Golden Slipper winner Franco Edward’s job of winning second-up significantly easier.

Franco Edward made a low key winning return last Saturday night at Gloucester Park, where he sat in the breeze and ran home in 57.7 to finish over the top of Ginas Ingot.

The three-year-old has barrier seven this Saturday night and Harper said he expected further improvement from the pacer in what he expected to be a tougher assignment.

“I’m really pleased with him, but he needed the run badly last week,” he said.

“He pulled up a lot bigger than I expected him to.

“He did it the tough way, but he found the line like a good horse.

“I never like to be too hard on my runners first-up, but it was good last week because he showed me where he’s at.

“It looks a lot harder this week…Bettor B Abeliever is a pretty slick horse and probably should’ve been in the Golden Nugget.”

Harper said the Victoria Derby, to be run on Australia Day, was Franco Edward’s main aim this campaign and indicated it may only be a very light three-year-old season.

“There is a bit of talk that we could go over for the Victoria Derby, but that does depend a little bit on Saturday night,” he said.

“Nothing is set in stone for him.

“If everything goes to plan this preparation, he might only have 10 or 12 starts.”

Meanwhile, Harper said Bettor B Abeliever was capable of playing a significant part in the Golden Nugget if he gains a start in the Group 1.

“With a good barrier draw, he’d be a chance,” he said.

“He’d probably need a draw like barrier 10.

“He’s got really good gate speed.”

Greg Bond’s trio Ana Malak, Mighty Conqueror and Bettor Aim head up the TABtouch market for the Golden Nugget, while Bettor B Abeliever is rated a $34 chance.

Outside of the feature event tomorrow night, Harper said he rated Debt Free Charlie from barrier two as one of his better chances on the program in the Retravision Online Christmas Gift Heat (2130m).

Tim Walker

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