Harness racing drivers Zac Butcher and Luke McCarthy both produced brilliant drives in the second semi-final of the three-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown at Bray Raceway in Ballarat tonight.
In the end Butcher took the win, just, aboard New Zealand star Our Sky Major, while McCarthy – whose dashing mid-race move aboard Bling It On from his back-row draw gave his horse a genuine winning chance – had to settle for second.
If those two repeat their runs in the final at Tabcorp Park Melton next Sunday, it will be a classic Group 1 race.
Hectorjayjay pinged off the arm to lead for Simone Walker early, which was a surprise as the pre-race hype had been about Saloon Passage and Our Sky Major possibly getting involved in a two-horse speed duel.
Hectorjayjay quickly handed up to Our Sky Major, which shuffled Saloon Passage three back along the pegs.
McCarthy made a bold and dashing move aboard Bling It On at the 1200-metre mark and the star pacer had such a head of steam up that he was able to run to the lead.
Our Sky Major was then behind the leader, Hectorjayjay was three-back the inside and Saloon Passage was in all sorts of traffic.
But Butcher didn’t panic and was able to extricate the $1.50 Our Sky Major into clear running in the home straight, the son of Art Major driving hard late to pip Bling It On in a thriller, with Hectorjayjay rallying again for third.
Jilliby Jagger ran on hard to finish fourth, while Saloon Passage was fifth and Mighty Gift sixth.
The other three-year-old boys’ semi-final was taken out by Major Crocker and Greg Sugars for trainer Vince Vallelonga.
Major Crocker was too strong for runner-up Alleluia, with Will Mach My Word third.
That trio were 1-2-3 for the last lap.
by Cody Winnell
Harness Racing Victoria