Strathfieldsaye trainer Graham McDermott will be shooting for back to back Group 2 Glenferrie Farm Kahdon Trot wins with his mare Waikare Patricia at Melton’s Tabcorp Park on Friday night.
Twelve months ago Waikare Patricia took successive victories into the Kahdon and started at $3.30, gathering late momentum in the sprint lane to overpower Cold Sister and Gatesys Girl.
Fast forward to now and, while there are no 1s beside her name of late, her form is arguably stronger than it looks on paper.
Last Saturday in the Group 2 John Slack Memorial Cup at Ballarat Waikare Patricia lost all momentum early in the home straight when she ran smack bang into a dead end behind eventual winner Keystone Del and runner-up Spidergirl.
She held their backs comfortably but never got a shot at them and in the end was overrun for third by fast-finishing Brunelleschi.
“I guess we’ll never know,” McDermott said when asked what might have been if the daughter of Last Sunset had gained an inside run.
“She had momentum up coming into the straight … I was just happy she held the back of those horses because they’re probably the in-form trotters at the moment.”
At the mare’s previous run, when fourth of six behind Shes An Image at Melton, the pace was slow early and the leaders were advantaged.
Waikare Patricia was last with a lap to go on that occasion and still managed to finish fourth beaten only 8.6m.
“She’s been racing well but probably just needs a little bit more luck in running to go her way,” McDermott said.
Champion reinsman Gavin Lang is the man charged with delivering that luck on Friday night as regular driver Campbell is unavailable.
Drawn inside the back row, Waikare Patricia ($16) will follow out pole horse Desert Spur ($51).
Chris Lang’s rising star Maori Time ($3) is drawn five and should have plenty of pace early as she shoots for six straight wins.
The odds-on favourite for the race is David Aiken-trained, Chris Alford-driven Spidergirl ($1.70), which defeated Waikare Patricia home last start by about 4m.
Spidergirl is drawn outside the second row but will undoubtedly be sent forward early to take up a more prominent position.
“I’d imagine we’ll just have to see what happens but we’ll probably be looking to pop one off and get into the race,” McDermott said.
When she won the Kahdon last year Waikare Patricia lost ground around the home turn before darting back to the sprint lane and finishing over the top of her rivals.
If she ends up buried away on the pegs on Friday night, a similar finishing burst might not be out of the question providing she sees daylight at the right time.
The Kahdon Trot and the Group 1 Glenferrie Farm Victoria Trotters Oaks will be exported live to France for broadcast and wagering on Friday night.
By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)