Despite the fact six Group 1 races will be run and won on Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series pacing grand final night on Saturday, for many harness racing fans the highlight will come in the Melton City Council Sprint at 8.30pm.
The “people’s champion”, Smoken Up, returns to the track to chase win number 74 at start number 149.
The 11-year-old looked good at the Tabcorp Park trials on Tuesday, cruising to the line in second gear to score by a neck in a rate of 2:01.5.
Smoken Up, who is about to embark on a farewell tour likely taking in South Australia and Sydney before finishing at Melton, boasts a best winning mile rate of 1:48.5 and despite his age is still racing in superb fashion.
This season the son of Tinted Cloud has won six races and had a further nine minor placings from 21 starts to amass prize money of $229,643. His career stake earnings are now over $3.5million.
He certainly won’t get it all his own way on Saturday, however.
The field he’s drawn is first-rate, with up-and-comer Amajorjo drawn two, Teo Enteo in four, Wartime Sweetheart to start from six, supremely talented Keayang Cullen to start from seven, Cold Major in gate eight, Inky Cullen in nine and Bitobliss gate 10.
By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)