SELDOM does a big harness racing raceday go by at Tabcorp Park Menangle without Belinda and Luke McCarthy figuring in the spotlight.
They were at their best again on Sunday when promising filly Bamako Mali took out the $100,000 Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Fillies’ Final.
While this daughter of Art Major has been on the road a lot this season, Bamako Mali continues to give her best and trainer Belinda McCarthy and breeder Paul Kahlfeldt feel there could be more Group One wins in store for her.
Taken straight to the front by leading reinsman Luke McCarthy, Bamako Mali didn’t get a lot of peace from Bathurst Gold Tiara winner, now her stablemate, Makes Every Scents, who sat outside her in the run.
Still there were apparent dangers with Ameretto (Ash Siejka) poised behind her on the fence and Sally Fletcher (Gavin Fitzpatrick) poised with a one-one trail.
Turning for home it looked a race in four as all three challenged Bamako Mali.
When Ameretto gained a run along the pegs she looked likely to run her down while $3.10 favourite Sally Fletcher was also winding up out wide while Makes Every Scents continued to battle on in the centre.
Yet Bamako Mali held them all at bay to win in a 1:56.5 mile rate, outlasting Ameretto and Sally Fletcher to win by 1.4m after a 57-second final half.