Day At The Track

Craven craving for Queensland

04:57 PM 22 Jun 2016 NZST
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Im Wrongly Accused.jpg
Im Wrongly Accused
Stuart McCormick

Top young Victorian Harness Racing horseman Matthew Craven is heading to Queensland.

The emerging star is keen to chase Group One glory in both the Queensland Oaks and Derby with a pair of richly talented ex-kiwi pacers in Im Wrongly Accused and Kimani.

And he’s heading north next week.

Im Wrongly Accused has already shown her class by winning a heat of the Victoria Oaks earlier this season while Kimani is yet to race on Australian soil following his purchase from the stables of Barry Purdon recently.

“The Queensland winter carnival has been on my radar for some time and I think I’ve got the right horses to head north with, the filly has proven she can compete with the best while Kimani is very talented and the Derby was an obvious target.” Craven said.

Winning a Derby classic has proven elusive so far this season for Craven with another former kiwi pacer in Cant Refuse coming up short in the Victoria, New South Wales and West Australian features.

Cant Refuse finished as a runner-up in the Sydney feature while running a close fourth in the other two events.

Kimani is a son of super sire Bettors Delight out of the former champion filly Lizzie Maguire and gave a glimpse of his ability with a stylish trial at Terang last Sunday.

Kimani rated 1:55.7 for the 2180m workout and scored by a widening margin.

“I was very happy with the effort in the trial last weekend and he’ll improve on that obviously because that’s the first serious hit-out I’ve given to date. He had a good blow following the trial but he’s come through it in good style.

“I’m keen to start him in a ‘CO’ event at Albion Park next week before pushing to the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby features. He’s pretty good and I’m looking forward to starting him up there.”

Despite her scratching today (Wednesday), Im Wrongly Accused remains on target for the Queensland campaign.

The Bettors Delight filly was ruled out owing to a hoof abscess and Craven wasn’t prepared to take any risks.

“It’s not a major issue but I wasn’t prepared to take any chances, we’ll get it sorted and she’ll be ready for the Gold Coast Oaks on Saturday week.

“This filly possesses very good speed and the pattern of racing up there should suit her ideally, these features have been earmarked for some time.”

Another in-form pacer making the trip north is Roy George, an impressive last winner last night (Tuesday) at Ballarat.

The Grinfromeartoear six-year-old has won 10 of his 15 starts including 7 of his past 8 starts.

Craven is considering a $20,000 Rising Stars Championship series for the talented gelding.

Chris Barsby

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