Day At The Track

Group 3 $50,000 Mount Eden Pace Friday

04:34 PM 20 Oct 2016 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Libertybelle Midfrew Mike Reed
Libertybelle Midfrew
Mike Reed

Six-year-old Libertybelle Midfrew has struck peak form and is poised to become at Gloucester Park on Friday night, only the eighth harness racing mare in the 62-year history of the Mount Eden Pace to win the Group 3 $50,000 feature event.

Her prospects in Friday night’s event  soared when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko are planning for an all-the-way victory.

In a major departure from the norm, the race will be decided over 2130m. The Mount Eden Sprint has been run over 1730m or 1700m for many years.

The only mares to have won the Mount Eden Sprint, formerly known as the State Sprint Championship, and first run in 1955 when Bernie Cushing drove Village Chief to victory, are Dainty’s Daughter (1970), Pyramus (1971), Virgil Queen (1977), Kiwi Cloud (1978), Line On (1986), Whitbys Miss Penny (1992) and Sensational Gabby (2014).

Reed has yet to train a winner of the Mount Eden Sprint, while Suvaljko will be keen to replicate his effort in 2010 when he drove 6/1 chance Real Life to an all-the-way win from barrier three in the Mount Eden Sprint.

Reed has the high-priced New Zealand-bred Libertybelle Midfrew well and truly on track to be a major player in the TABtouch interdoiminion championship, which will get under way with the opening set of heats at Gloucester Park on November 25.

The Christian Cullen mare started from barrier six and was a 25/1 chance in the 2015 Mount Eden Sprint when she finished strongly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Waylade and My Hard Copy. She also contested the 2014 Mount Eden Sprint when she started from barrier four and at 9/2. She ran home solidly, out wide, from eighth at the bell to be fifth behind Sensational Gabby.

Libertybelle Midfrew cashed in on the preferential conditions for the 2536m Media Guild Cup and the 2130m Stratton Cup at her past two starts. Suvaljko made the most of the No. 1 barrier in both events in which Libertybelle Midfrew was untroubled to set the pace and win.

She beat the fast-finishing Heez On Fire by a half-length in the Media Guild Cup and she sprinted over the final three quarters in 28.5sec., 27.3sec. and 28.1sec. when she scored by 4m from The Bucket List and Bettors Fire in the Stratton Cup.

Her most recent success improved her record to 49 starts for 18 wins and 11 placings for earnings of $607,497.   

Only two pacers have won the Mount Eden Sprint twice ---- Kolworth in 1961 and 1963 and Im Themightyquinn in 2011 and 2012.

Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper’s hopes of winning the Mount Eden Sprint again with Bettors Fire were dampened to a degree when the outstanding eight-year-old drew the outside barrier (No. 9).

Bettors Fire led from the No. 1 barrier in 2013 when he defeated Im Victorious by almost three lengths at a 1.53.8 rate over 1730m. Then a year later Bettors Fire was a 20/1 chance when he surged home from the rear to be third behind Sensational Gabby. In last year’s race, Bettors Fire (14/1) thundered home from last the bell to be fourth behind Waylade.

Last year’s winner Waylade will start from the No. 4 barrier on Friday night, but he faces a hard task after being unplaced at his past four starts. Waylade is one of five runners in the race prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen.

Hall’s chief hope looks certain to be the brilliant five-year-old Beaudiene Boaz, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven on the front line.

In the Stratton Cup last Friday week Beaudiene Boaz was restrained at the start from barrier six and raced at the rear in the field of eight before starting a three-wide move 550m from home. He fought on determinedly to finish sixth, three lengths behind the winner. The final fast sectionals recorded by Libertybelle Midfrew set Beaudiene Boaz a hopeless task.

A week earlier Beaudiene Boaz gave a sample of his great class when he rated 1.52.9 to smash the track record for 2130m in winning the Navy Cup by two and a half lengths from the pacemaker Bettors Fire.

Gary Hall jun. sent Beaudiene Boaz forward with a three-wide move from last with 1050m to travel and the Badlands Hanover stallion burst to the front 680m from home. His final quarters were run in 27.3sec. and 28.2sec.

Comeback pacer Heez On Fire, now trained by Bill Horn, is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line and the WA-bred seven-year-old should enjoy a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Libertytbelle Midfrew.

Heez On Fire, to be handled by Chris Lewis, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, when fifth behind Libertybelle Midfrew in the Stratton Cup last Friday week. That followed his eye-catching first-up effort a fortnight earlier when he was eighth and last 250m from home before sprinting brilliantly in the straight to finish second, just a half-length behind Libertybelle Midfrew.

Ken Casellas

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: