Bad barrier draws threaten to derail New Zealand’s Breeders Crown assault at Melton on Sunday.
While New Zealand has a strong team at the A$1.5million meeting, many have drawn poorly on a day that will be dominated by those racing on the speed.
So while Bit Of A Legend is the hottest favourite of the day and should cruise the three-year-old colt’s final, plenty of the other Kiwis will be hoping for mid-race pressure that simply may not come.
Here is a look at the New Zealand-trained hopes on one of the richest days of the harness racing season.
Race 1, 3-y-o pacing fillies: Safedra (9): Much-improved tough filly who can run a place as likely to get handy mid-race.
Holly Madison (13): Only just snuck into this race and after drawing 13 would have been better off in the consolation.
Race 2, 2-y-o trot: Daenerys Targaryen (1): Has been very strong this campaign, including beating favourite I’m Stately in the Redwood. Each way hope but big two hard to hold out.
One Over Da Moon (12): Jewels winner who is brilliant but will be giving other favourites a big start. Likely gallopers could help and at his best can win around $4.50.
Race 4, 3-y-o trot: Quite A Moment (10): Honest filly who was third in Vic Derby but meets a quality crop headlined by likely winner Blitzthemcalder.
Race 5, 2-y-o fillies pace: Te Amo Bromac (9): Has been consistent without being convincing this campaign. If she produced her best and tried 100 per cent can win but some doubts in the latter regard.
Race 6, 4-y-o male pace: Besotted (5): Was brave here last Sunday chasing home the flying Ideal Scott (2) and will have improved now he is more settled. If the favourite leads probably can’t beat him but will be in the finish.
Race 7, 2-y-o male pace: Messini (4): Had every chance after trailing in semi so place at best.
Our Sky Major (9): Jewels winner in sensational form. Draw makes it very hard but if they go hard early he can win. If they don’t, he might be bravest loser on the day.
Our Maxim (12): Didn’t look entirely happy in semi last week and faces having to make his own luck tomorrow. Will need a lot to go right, which is unlikely.
Race 8, 4-y-o mares pace: Cheer The Lady (10): Back to defend title she won last season and in super form. Only needs some mid-race pressure or a decent cart into the race to blow most of these away.
Carpenters Daughter (11): Hasn’t had much luck this campaign but definite threat, especially as the tempo could suit her style.
Race 9, 3-y-o male pace: Bit Of A Legend (5): In career best form so likely to be handed the lead and win by about three lengths.
By Michael Guerin (Harness Racing New Zealand)