Make Mine Cullen won the opening Chariots Of Fire qualifier - the Hondo Grattan Sprint - at Menangle last Friday night (July 16) and Australia's other gun four-year-old harness racing mare will be in action this Friday night.
But Broadways Best won’t be going around in the other Chariots preliminary, the $200,000 Paleface Adios Sprint, which will also be run at Menangle.
She will instead run at Melton’s Tabcorp Park with Gisborne trainer Shannon McLean preferring to keep the three-time Group 1 winner to her home state as she prepares for next month’s Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown.
“We needed to get a run into her to start our preparation towards the Breeders (Crown),” he said. “She trialled last Monday and went really well and I thought this race would top her off nicely.”
Broadways Best will take on the M1 males in the Western Water Pace at 9.12pm. It will be her first run since following a clean sweep of the Vicbred Super Series with a dominant win in the Group 3 Ladyship Cup on May 21.
McLean said the winner of 12 of her 26 starts excelled during her break, as evidenced by a solid trial against Barastoc Grand Circuit winnerand Kilmore Cup champion Ohoka Nevada at Kilmore.
“She trialled with the fast-class horses at Kilmore and was last on the home turn but still beathome,” McLean said. “I couldn’t be happier with the way her work is, the only thing she hasn’t got is that race sharpness.”
What she does have, though, is a nightmare gate. Despite the random conditions of the draw, she will start from outside the back row (barrier 13) in a 1720-metre event.
It makes her job difficult with the in-form Sayonara Gold (one), the capable Our Madagascar (two) and fellow top four-year-old mare Ananz (11) among her rivals, but McLean was philosophical about the alley.
“Part of the reason we went for this race was because we thought we’ve got a chance to draw a nice draw but it just didn’t happen,” he lamented.
“The draw does make it a little bit tough, but hopefully we get the good draws in the good races. We’ll take the bad luck now and get the good luck later on.”
Broadways Best is staying at home, but Victoria’s Paleface Adios Sprint claims are in good hands with Garden Staters to make up half of the 10 runners in the 1609m scamper.
They experienced mixed fortunes at the barrier draw with Villagem and Mister Zion faring well with gates one and four, but Captain Joy, Garnet River and Staghorn Flat drew the three widest alleys in the race where all horses start off the front.
A top-five finish in the 8.30pm event is required to join Make Mine Cullen in the following Friday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Chariots at Menangle.
Chain in command from gun draw
Kiwi import Our Chain Of Command didn’t exactly endear himself to the natives at his first start for the Dean Braun stable.
The four-year-old son ofwent around an odds-favourite in an M0 stand at Tabcorp Park, but galloped away and had to settle for third placing.
It was a costly defeat, but the gelding hasn’t wasted any time trying to redeem himself. He rebounded with a 1:56.8 win at Tabcorp Park then impressively won one of last Friday night’s Winter Championship heats at the same venue.
The gelding who Braun only purchased after he failed to find the owners their preferred two-year-old will start a warm favourite in this Friday night’s $25,000 decider after coming up with barrier one.
“The owners wanted me to find a nice two-year-old but I couldn’t find one, so I went and drove this one and I really liked him,” Lara-based Braun said.
“I told them he was a horse who would do a really good job for what he is, with the country cups and those sort of races in mind for next season.”
Our Chain Of Command made it six wins from 23 starts when he overcame the outside-front-row alley to record a 1:58.2 mile rate, which included a 27.8sec final 400m.
Stirling Charmer also clocked a 27.8sec final quarter in a 1:58.6 heat success and he has barrier three for the final. Other heat winner Elixir was the fastest qualifier, but she’s drawn the outside of the back row (13).
On Any Day (two), Dream Deposit (seven) and Atlas Alliance (10) are other classy types engaged, but Braun said the dream gate was the ace champion reinsman Chris Alford has up his sleeve aboard the speedy beginner.
“There are some other nice ones who have drawn handy, but I don’t think they’ll trouble him out of the gate,” Braun said. “He’s got plenty of gate speed and I’m sure if Chris wanted to hold the top he’s got enough speed to do so.”
Our Chain Of Command presents Braun with a big chance of a feature double. His star trotting mare Heyzeal resumes in the $20,000 Harness Breeders Vic Lightfoot Laurels.
The trotting mares’ event is her first engagement since finishing eighth behinds Gift in the Inter Dominion final on February 6, but Braun said she’s forward enough to win.
“She had eight weeks in the paddock and she’s been in work a long time,” he said. “She’s done a stack of work, she’s had two trials and is fairly forward, so she’ll give a very good account of herself I’m sure.”
Heyzeal will start alongside star four-year-old Arizona Blue off 10m in the 2760m stand at 7.12pm, in which Thepowerofhealing is the 20m backmarker.
Breeders Crown intrigue intensifies
The 2010 Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown stepped up a cog yesterday and this year’s series could hold some surprises if the six qualifiers run in the northern states are any indication.
The most anticipated heat of the day – the clash between Cuttheattitude and Chariot King in the last of five qualifiers at Menangle – produced anything but an expected result with neither of the star New South Wales geldings winning.
They had to settle for third and fifth respectively in the three-year-old colts and geldings heat won by Peter Russo-trainedyoungster, Henrik Zetterberg.
The second two-year-old colts and geldings qualifier also threw up a surprise with classy former Victorian, Sushi Sushi, beaten into third placing as a $1.20 favourite behind Tulhurst Major, angelding trained by Kevin Hurst.
Those shock results followed on from the Queensland three-year-old fillies heat earlier in the day at Albion Park, where Darren Hooper-trainedfilly Excitable Angel upset raging favourite Ark De Jeanne.
Fortunately for punters, that was where the upsets ended. Excel Stride (2YO colts and geldings) and Sheezallattitude (2YO fillies) won at $1.20 and Bonnie Mahoney prevailed in her clash with Starryart in the three-year-old fillies heat.
Yesterday’s winners progress to the August 13 semi finals with the other youngsters who won Breeders Crown heats in what was a massive week for the $2 million sweepstakes series.
Grant Hodges won both of Tasmania’s three-year-old heats at Hobart on Sunday. Riverina Chelsea, a daughter of, won the fillies’ division with colt Saturday Nights claiming the boys qualifier.
A host of heats were run across the Tasman at the end of last week. Major Mark and McAmber won Thursday’s two-year-old heats at Cambridge, while Franco Jamar upset defending champion Smiling Shard in a three-year-old boys’ heat at Addington on Friday night.
filly Lets Talk Art walked home in the three-year-old girls’ heat on the same program, while the following day at Rangiora, Bute Falcon and Amazing Art won the South Island qualifiers for the two-year-olds.
Those results followed on from earlier in the week when Western Australian stars Go West U Terror and Arctic Fire confirmed their status as leading contenders for the two-year-old boys and three-year-old girls divisions with heat wins at Pinjarra.
Breeders Crown action continues in Auckland the next two days with trotting heats tomorrow and three-year-old qualifiers the next night, while Victorians get their first taste of 2010 Breeders Crown action next week.
All the information regarding this year’s Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown, including those that have qualified for the semis, is available at www.breederscrown.com.au
First 4 frenzy this week
Last time Tabcorp offered up some First 4 jackpots on a Friday night, punters were rewarded with the chance to get their hands on some amazing dividends.
That was at Melton’s Tabcorp Park on July 2 with the first jackpot leading to a dividend of more than $54,000, while the night’s later jackpot returned just short of $20,000.
Those who missed out on some of those bonanzas get the chance to have another crack this Friday night, when almost $29,000 in First 4 carryover funds will be up for grabs at the Melton meeting.
The eight-race card’s headline act, the Confectionery & Party Shop Our Maestro Free-For-All (9.42pm), carries a $10,000 jackpot, as does what looks a testing opening race of the night, at 6.43pm.
The night’s richest race, the $25,000 Renown Silverware Winter Championship Final, also boasts a jackpot element with $8976 already in the pool.
Appeal hearing – Andrew Vozlic
The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board yesterday heard Andrew Vozlic’s appeal against a six-week suspension imposed at the Ouyen meeting at Mildura on June 23.
Vozlic was suspended by HRV stewards under Rule 149(1) for failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to win or obtain the best possible placing.
The appeal was upheld.
Appeal hearing – Craig Northcott
The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board yesterday heard Craig Northcott’s appeal against an eight-week suspension imposed at Bendigo on June 12.
Northcott was suspended by HRV stewards under Rule 162(1)(www) for disadvantaging another runner.
Northcott’s appeal against the conviction was dismissed, but the appeal against penalty was upheld. The penalty was varied to four weeks, to commence at midnight on July 22.