Day At The Track

Who will be the Master?

06:56 AM 25 Apr 2018 NZST
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The Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters
The Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters

If the crown fits. But who will wear it? The Gr.1 $150,000 Reharvest Rowe Cup is the final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters and the race to be crowned the harness racing premier square gaiter in the southern hemisphere is very much alive.

And the 3200m stand start feature looks loaded with chances.

Heading into this weekend, the Victorian trained Sparkling Success holds a narrow lead with 160 points but he’s far from across the line with the John Meade trained gelding not starting.

Instead, he’s relying on luck.

Sparkling Success scored in the Great Southern Star while being the runner-up in the Grand Prix.

Both events staged at TABCORP Park, Melton.

Other Trotting Masters winners this season include Amaretto Sun (Dominion) and Tornado Valley (Grand Prix).

But those that can snatch victory include last week’s Anzac Cup hero Lemond (100 points) and Temporale (64 points) while Enghien (60 points) can split the title if triumphant.

Here’s another scenario; if Enghien wins and Lemond runs second, a reversal of last week’s Anzac Cup, it could be a three-way tie which has never happened before.

In fact, the only split decision came back in 2007 when A Touch Of Flair and One Over Kenny shared the spoils.

The Trotting Masters Grand Circuit commenced in the 1999/2000 season.

But the Rowe Cup, the major trotting event of the North Island of New Zealand has a long and rich history after first being staged back in 1918 when Whisht proved successful.

And the great names on the Roll of Honour includes Native King, Mutu, Kempton, Ordeal, Single Cash, Sir Castleton, Idle Scott, David Moss, Wagon Apollo, Lyell Creek, Take A Moment, One Over Kenny, Sundons Gift, I Can Doosit and Monbet among many other great champions.

Last year’s hero was Temporale who again lines up this year is looking to become the 11th dual winner of the great race, if successful, he will join Waikaha, Raima, Nell Volo, Great Admiral, Fantom, Recruit, Pohutukawa, Single Cash, One Over Kenny and I Can Doosit.

The incomparable Lyell Creek won it three times (2000/01 & 04).

Temporale will be handled by his trainer Tony Herlihy who is aiming for his sixth Rowe Cup victory and will wear saddlecloth number 9.

The Almighty Johnson (saddlecloth 13) will also represent the Herlihy stable.

Anzac Cup winner Lemond was decisive last week under the mobile start conditions but has a tricky draw to contend with this week (saddlecloth 14) but again has the services of four times Rowe Cup winning driver Maurice McKendry.

And the only trotters to claim the Anzac/Rowe Cups double are I Can Doosit and Monbet.

Boom trotter Enghien will command respect; the quality four-year-old owns a fantastic record at the track and is part of a combination (Hopes & May) that has tasted victory previously with Monbet (2016).

The last four-year-old to win the Rowe Cup was last season – Temporale.

Enghien will carry saddlecloth 8.

Star northern based performer Speeding Spur is chasing his 7th Gr.1 victory and draws ideally (saddlecloth 4) which should have him much closer to the action unlike last week in the Anzac Cup.

Both Phil Williamson and Paul Nairn are chasing further success in the Rowe Cup with Williamson preparing One Over Kenny (2007) while Nairn has won it twice with Inspire (2006) and Stig (2013).

Williamson prepares Monty Python (saddlecloth 2) and Alderbeck (saddlecloth 3) while Nairn is represented by One Over Da Moon (saddlecloth 15).

Flashy performer Bordeaux (saddlecloth 6) was placed behind Temporale and Habibti Ivy in the Rowe Cup last year but needs to lift after running up the track last week in the Anzac Cup when leading.

Talented mares Yagunnakissmeornot (saddlecloth 1), Harriet Of Mot (saddlecloth 7) and Destiny Jones (saddlecloth 11) all back-up following their efforts last week in the Anzac Cup.

Harriet Of Mot produced an outstanding effort to finish third behind Lemond and Enghien.

Another mare in Princess Mackendon (saddlecloth 12) takes on the Rowe Cup after missing a place last week in easier grade.

Southern visitor War Machine (saddlecloth 16) comes north chasing the big prize but the draw has severely dampened his chances but has the services of four times winner Anthony Butt.

The emergencies are Realmein (saddlecloth 10) and Charlemagne (saddlecloth 5).

The Rowe Cup is race 8 on the program and listed to start at 9.20pm local time.

Suddenly, it all comes down to one race - the Rowe Cup!

Chris Barsby

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