Mega Alexander may only be in his second preparation with experienced horseman John Justice, but he has already made an impression on the Toolern Vale conditioner.
A runner-up to Jaccka Clive on debut for the stable earlier this year suggested the ex-New South Wales and Queensland pacer was right back to the very best that saw him competing in races like the Hunter Cup.
In two runs following, circumstances didn’t aid the now eight-year-old and following a minor break he returned to Tabcorp Park for the Minuteman Free For All two weeks ago.
After getting back in the run he simply couldn’t find a clear path to the line and was held up for much of the straight.
“He was terribly unlucky last time out but I don’t know if he is going to get much luck this week looking at the draw, it just looks a bit awkward again,” Justice said.
“With Bitobliss in it you can’t say it’s a drop in class but with Smoken Up out there are probably less in it that are as good as him.
“He’ll definitely have to fire out from barrier four, or five depending where he starts, because even though there is a bit of speed around him, over the short trip you certainly have to be going forward.”
Broadways Best has drawn the pole with Im Barney Rubble in three (without the emergency) and Toulouse Lautrec the outside of the front line.
Gate five looks a less than inspiring proposition however if Justice’s steed can show some of the blistering gate speed he possessed earlier in his career then the race would change complexion vastly.
Mega Alexander has been marked a $51 chance by HRV form expert Jason Bonnington however his trainer is confident he could have tested them in last week’s Free For All.
“He’s certainly come back as good this preparation. I was a bit disappointed he didn’t get a run last week because I thought that race really suited him and the horse he beat home last week (Smudge Bromac) ended up winning that race,” Justice said.
“In saying that, I still expect him to run a big race this week.”
Cochran Cup placegetter Kasyanov will return to action in the True Roman Trotters Free For All and despite coming up well, Justice had a warning for punters.
“He’s come back well but he will need the run. I don’t think he can win first-up but he should run a good race,” he said.
“There’s a chance he could just improve a fraction but I’d say he will stay around the mark he was at so it’s all looking good at this stage.”
Broadway At Her Best For Blacks A Fake
The Blacks A Fake Free For All has a small but illustrious honour roll. Smoken Up is a two-time winner, Melpark Major crushed his rivals last year and Our Malabar and Decorated Jasper took the race at the peak of their powers.
There has never been a mare win the race though, but that’s the task canny Gisborne trainer Shannon McLean has set his stable star Broadways Best.
The conditions of the race couldn’t have suited the 2011 Ladyship Mile winner any better.
Barriers were drawn based on prizemoney accrued in the last four starts and somewhat fortuitously, she hasn’t earned a single dollar.
“On paper her form probably doesn’t look that great but the barriers draws have been against her, that’s probably all it’s been,” McLean said.
“Getting the pole position this week will really help and hopefully we can see something good.
“Daryl said if she gets clear she runs a clear second, if not pushes the winner (Bitobliss) which is good to hear but it didn’t help much after the race. Still, it was good to see her hit the line well in such a strong race.”
Even though recent barriers haven’t suited the daughter of Village Jasper, the last time she started from one she was too good in the Melton City Council Sprint on Vicbred Super Series night.
Similar circumstances have been presented this week with the option of taking the sit if the right rival is to test her early. In saying that, McLean is convinced the only way they will be headed is by choice.
“I’d expect to be behind the leader at worst, she’ll be running the gate and trying to hold them out and then we can weigh up our options from there,” he said.
“Going on her last run against Bitobliss and having no luck we think she is still right up to it; at his best he is a freak but we have the advantage at the draw this week.”
And that last point could be the key. She is yet to face Bitobliss at his absolute top and it’s hard to argue that he will be just that at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday.
But for Broadways Best there has been another career calling for almost 12 months, and that’s the breeding barn.
The well bred mare will no doubt make her mark when she heads to stud however there is no rush to sweep her off the track.
“Breeding-wise we are just going to let her tell us. I’m a big believer that they are long time retired and she is still racing very well,” McLean said.
“You spend your whole life trying to find a horse like this and now we have her so we might as well keep the ride going as long as we can.”
by Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)