Craig Judd heads into the weekend with plenty at stake.
Judd shares ownership of star two-year-old filly Bamako Mali who is well fancied to win Saturday night’s Gr.1 $100,000 Seymour Nursery Pace Final at Albion Park.
Not only is the filly chasing her maiden Group One triumph, a trip across the Tasman hinges on a forward showing.
The Art Major - African Dancer filly has already secured an invitation to contest the Gr.1 $NZ150,000 Diamond on Jewels Day at Cambridge on May 31 but Judd is yet to make a decision on whether to accept or decline the invite.
“A definite decision will be made following her performance on the weekend but at this stage we’re keen to head across. It’s a great honour to be invited and it’s possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to contest a race of that stature.” Judd said.
Bamako Mali qualified for the Nursery Pace Final following her narrow victory in the heat after leading on Monday when holding off the fast finishing Mathilda Diventa in a time of 2;02.4 for 2138m.
The mile rate was significantly slower than stablemate Smooth Showgirl (2;00.8) who won the other qualifying heat after racing without cover.
“She’s not pretty winning but she is a winner, her heat/qualifying efforts never appear to be dynamic but she always lifts in the finals so I’m hoping history repeats on Saturday night.
“We’re so lucky to have a filly of this caliber and she hasn’t gone a bad race yet, victory in a Group One feature would mean so much both short and long term.
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it up to Brisbane on the weekend but my parents, Peter and Judy will be on hand to hopefully accept the trophy.”
Team McCarthy look to play a starring role in the fillies feature with Smooth Showgirl recording a dominant victory over the previously unbeaten Makes Every Scents in the heat after racing without cover.
Luke McCarthy will stick with Smooth Showgirl while father John takes the lines behind Bamako Mali.
“Obviously Smooth Showgirl is the filly to beat after her heat win on Monday, she was very impressive beating a good quality filly, and I know the stable have always had a good rating for that filly.
“Having John drive our filly is no loss when you consider how many feature race victories he has against his name, I’m confident in both horse and driver.”
Judd will be watching via his base at Katunga in Victoria where he operates the busy Benstud Standardbreds where over 100 broodmares roam the lush paddocks all year round.
Benstud Standardbreds services include breeding, foaling, weaning, yearling sale preparation, breaking and agistment.
By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)