Day At The Track

Melpark Major building to Chariots crescendo

04:45 AM 25 Jul 2008 NZST
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Victorian heavyweight Melpark Major is likely to return to the track in the next few weeks in preparation for the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire.

The four-year-old is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, pacer of his age in Victoria and many believe he is destined to earn an invitation to the August 29 feature at Harold Park.

Trainer Alan Tubbs reports that his stable star has been enjoying some time off since his second in the Four and Five-Year-Old Championship on June 6.

"He enjoyed three weeks off at his owner's property and came back to me a short time ago," he said.

"He is looking in great shape and we are really excited at the prospect of contesting the Chariots Of Fire with him."

The Vicbred Sires' champion contested a trial at Geelong last Monday evening in preparation for a race return which Tubbs anticipates will be in early August.

"I was very happy with the way he went," he declared.

"They came home in a pretty quick time and he beat a few nice horses home.

"It was his first go in a standing start trial but I am planning another trial for him in the next few days.

"I want to trial him on a smaller track so he can be ready to race at Harold Park."

This is Tubbs' first chance to aim at a Chariots Of Fire.

He believes that not only is the race within reach, but even the Grand Circuit could be a possibility with continued improvement.

"He has come along in leaps and bounds this season," Tubbs said.

"Currently, he stands at 17 hands and is still growing so I believe there will be a little more improvement to come.

"At the trials the other day, he looked good and seemed to handle everything perfectly.

"He is growing out now and seems to have a wonderful constitution."

Tubbs is hopeful of attracting an early invitation from the Directors of the NSW Harness Racing Club to contest the Chariots.

"It will give him time to settle into his surroundings," he said.

Ironically, if he is selected as one of the eight invitees to the Chariots, he is likely to be staying with one of his opponents - Lombo Pocket Watch.

Tubbs has made a habit of staying at trainer Paul Fitzpatrick's property whenever he has ventured to Sydney.

Paul and his entire family are great people," he said.

"Lombo Pocket Watch is likely to get the first invite to the race and if we do manage to beat him and win the Chariots, I know Paul will be the first to congratulate me.

"He is that type of person."

MEANWHILE, Lombo Pocket Watch is still a few weeks away from racing.

Driver Gavin Fitzpatrick reports that the son of Jet Laag has done well since his narrow second in the Len Smith Mile to Smoken Up in an Australasian record of 1:51.9.

"We are hoping to get two or three runs into him before the Chariots," Fitzpatrick declared.

"He went sensationally at Menangle against Smoken Up and if he reproduces that form in the Chariots, they will find it very difficult to beat him."

Courtesy of Andrew Georgiou
National Trotguide and Harness Racing Weekly

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