Day At The Track

Mares to fly in fabulous Free-For-All

06:19 PM 23 May 2019 NZST
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Maczaffair,Harness racing
Scott Hamilton Photo

Friday night's Studco Building Systems Fillies and Mares Free-For-All Pace (2130m) looks set to be a fascinating battle between the old and the new, with some of the state's best mares to clash.

Five of the eight runners engaged are four-year-olds hoping to enhance their credentials for feature races later this year.

Two of the three other runners in the race are seasoned veterans and know what FFA racing is all about.

Perhaps the most intriguing runner in the race is the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair.

The Mach Three five-year-old is first-up since running second in the Past President's Cup and was third in the WA Pacing Cup the start prior.

Her return to the track was delayed a week, after last week's FFA race didn't attract enough acceptances. 

Maczaffair, under the guidance of trainer Mike Reed and reinsman son Mark, will have to be at her best to win from barrier seven on Friday. 

Eden Franco has struggled to recapture her best form this campaign and that was no more evident than her unplaced finish in the Breeders Stakes a fortnight ago.

The Colin Brown-trained and driven mare has now had six starts without a win, but has to be respected in this class from barrier three.

Trainer Debra Lewis has enjoyed a strong run of form over the past month and The War Nurse is responsible for a large part of that.

The War Nurse finished third in the Breeders Stakes two starts back, her biggest test to date, before she returned to the winners circle last Saturday.

The four-year-old has barrier two on Friday night and gets a tremendous chance to beat a high quality field.

Cott Beach always has to be respected from barrier one for trainer Kristy Elson.

The Advance Attack mare held the front from barrier one the last time she had that draw, but will have a lot more pressure to hold the front this time around.

Our Alfie Romeo was another mare who returned to the winners circle at her most recent start in the Breeders Stakes, thanks to a tremendous drive by Ryan Warwick.

Trained by Greg and Skye Bond, Our Alfie Romeo strung five wins together earlier this campaign, before five unplaced runs in a row. 

Dylan Egerton-Green has the drive on Friday night and looks set to get the perfect run from barrier four. 

Progressive pacer Come Dance With Me and the Ross Olivieri-trained pair Madame Meilland and Veiled Secret make up the eight horse field.

Although his pair may be the outsiders in the race, Olivieri was hopeful one of them could surprise. 

"She (Madame Meilland) is very well," Olivieri told GPTV.

"Unfortunately, she has got four very good horses drawn inside of her.

"In the Breeders Stakes, she went to the line bolting and couldn't get a run.

"I've changed the training around with her a little bit this week, but we will see Friday whether that will make a difference.

"Veiled Secret, Gary Hall Jnr drove her and came in and said it's the best sixth I've run for a long time.

"Barrier eight though, where's she going to go?"

Although Olivieri didn't get the luck with barriers with his mares, four-year-old Carrera Mach looks set to play a big part in the Standing Start event of the evening.

Carrera Mach and One Off Delight are the only two runners in the 10 horse field to start off the front line.


Tim Walker

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