Day At The Track

Marching towards the Crown

08:40 AM 07 Mar 2018 NZDT
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First String,Harness racing
First String is being aimed at the upcoming Bathurst Gold Crown.

THE month of March is welcomed for those cooler autumn temperatures but it also announces that the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival, with its highly popular mix of racing and social activities, is upon us again.

Two-year-olds have been strutting their stuff at most Gold Crown Paceway meetings since the New Year, and two “baby races” at last Wednesday’s fixture provided something of a warm-up act for the full program of two-year-old racing in late March.

First String (Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy) justified the wraps on him by leading throughout in the first  of these races, gradually increasing the tempo to closing quarters of 28 seconds for a commendable 1:57.8 mile rate, at his racing debut.

The Roll With Joe colt, a $43,000 purchase  at the Sydney APG Sale for some of the Fleur De Lil connections, is Gold Crown bound, with Luke McCarthy commenting that it was a sensible option to bring him up to Bathurst for a run on the track before the Crown heats.

Runner-up Shoobee Doo (Steve/Mitch Turnbull), a $16,500 buy from last year’s Gold Crown Sale, ran on strongly for a promising second to confirm good trial form, and Chris Be Quick (Gemma/ Mat Rue), a $32,500 purchase at Sydney last year, trailed the leader throughout to hold down third, for his second successive placing.

In the second two-year-old race Caribbean Jack (Gemma/Mat Rue) enjoyed a nice trail behind the lead and showed good race sense to go through on the inside in scoring a last-stride win, home in 57.8s for a 1:58.7 mile rate.

He’d been a touch unlucky when third on debut, and with further improvement should acquit himself well during the carnival.

The Caribbean Blaster son was a $5,500 buy at the Bathurst Sale last year, runner-up Our Uncle Jim (Chris/Anthony Frisby) is a homebred, and Firestorm Red (Steve Turnbull), which held on well for third after a tough run outside the lead, was a $60,000 purchase at the Melbourne APG Sale for the “Red Man” Rob Davis.

Caribbean Jack’s win completed a double for the Rues, after the all-the-way win in C2 grade by Trilight Brigade NZ, the Bettors mare scoring her sixth win from her last 9 starts, dashing home in 27.6s to street her rivals.

Most impressive performance of the meeting was clearly that of Parramatta NZ, which led for most of the fast-class sprint, home in 55.9s to complete the 1730 metres in a 1:53.8 rate, just over a second off the track record set by Better Than Max during last year’s carnival.

Off the track, the highlight of the evening was the draw for naming rights for the carnival’s  Group One feature races, the Gold Tiara and Gold Crown, for 24 local and national sponsors who had signed up for sponsorship packages at this year’s carnival.

This year’s features will be known as the Mitavite Gold Tiara, and the Kings Hotel Bathurst Gold Crown. They will be the first 2YO Group One races of the Australian season, and the highlights of a magnificent night’s racing on Easter Saturday, March 31.



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