John Hallam’s in-form rig Karkarooc should prove hard to beat in Friday night’s Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final (Race 3) at Tabcorp Park Melton.
The son of Courage Under Fire and mare Phichai, a half-brother to Hallam's Group 1 winning mare Wyperfeld, has won three straight races, his most recent in 1:58.4 when 11.8 metres too strong for A Bit Ruthless at Shepparton.
“He’s as promising a horse as I’ve had for a while,” Hallam said.
“He’s very inexperienced. He hasn’t had a lot of trialling.
He’s got blistering gate speed, which he won’t be able to use from the second row, but I’m not really fussed about that.
“I don’t care where he settles. If they go too slow up front he’ll go up and around them and if not I don’t mind if he comes with one run at the end.”
Hallam, who trains from Kialla, said as Karkarooc progressed through the grades to higher class races he would become more of a sit-sprinter.
“When he gets in against those better horses I think that will be his forte."
Nathan Jack has driven Karkarooc at two of his past three wins and will steer him again on Friday night.
Jack and Hallam will also combine in Race 1 with Million To One mare Ezee Duzit Lombo.
The six-year-old has been in ultra-consistent form of late without winning, finishing second at her past two starts at Swan Hill and Shepparton.
“You certainly couldn’t get much closer than that she’s been getting of late,” Hallam said.
Ezee Duzit Lombo ran on powerfully two starts back off a slow speed up front to finish second at Swan Hill before another runner-up effort last time out when beaten a head by Stunning Grin.
While she has been settling back in the field in her recent starts, Hallam said Ezee Duzit Lombo was likely to be driven more proactively from gate three on Friday night.
“Over the 1720 metres at Melton if you’re getting too far back you might as well not come,” he said.
Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria