Day At The Track

Maguire's chance to impress in-laws

03:04 PM 25 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Steve Maguire and Bettermatch.jpg
Steve Maguire returns Bettermatch to scale
Photo HRNSW

Mirrool horseman Steve Maguire has known Leeton harness racing trainer Col Thomas for a long time. 

In fact, Maguire married Thomas’ daughter Robyn in 1988 and became part of the family. 

On Saturday night Maguire could be elevated from son-in-law to something even higher if Bettermatch can win the Alabar Bathurst Gold Crown.

Thomas trains and Maguire drives the star two-year-old, with both men chasing their first Group One success.

With the son of Kenneth J drawn barrier three, Maguire is confident victory is within reach.

Bettermatch will slot into gate two with the removal of the emergency.

“The gate is perfect,” Maguire declared. “If someone had asked me before it took place which barrier I was after I would have said three or four, so it wasn’t too far off.

“I thought he was good in his heat on Saturday night, he was pretty casual in front, but once he got up onto the bit, he travelled strongly and did it within himself.”

Bettermatch is unbeaten after five starts and Maguire admits to being in awe of the freshman’s performance in last month’s Sapling Stake at Menangle.

“The Sapling Stake was his first run since winning the Leeton Breeders’ Plate, he was very fresh and fired up out of the gate that night,” Maguire said.

“I remember thinking coming to the turn that I should be looking after him because we had been really running from the start, but turning for home he kept on giving, kicked home very hard to get the win and ran 1:53.6 in the process.”

Although TAB.COM.AU has Bettermatch listed as the $1.50 favourite for the $100,000 decider, Maguire has a lot of respect for his rivals.

“It is not as cut and dried as everyone thinks,” Maguire said. “I thought Sams The Master was impressive winning his heat and Shadow Runner was very strong to the line too.

“I have had a couple of horses in the Gold Crown before Langus Frost chased home Master Musician in 1990 and Mendacious Rhythm was in Another Party’s race in 1997.”

  • HRNSW Media

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