Day At The Track

Alleluia aiming at $200,000 Chariots Of Fire

08:33 AM 06 Feb 2015 NZDT
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Greg Mitchell
Greg Mitchell

Plenty is at stake for the harness racing connections of classy pacer Alleluia.

The gifted four-year-old pacer faces a must win situation this Saturday night at Albion Park when he starts in the Listed $25,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final.

The Art Major – Shy Annie gelding is heading south next week in preparation for the country’s biggest four-year-old classic, the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on March 1.

“That’s been the target for some time, probably since the day we bought him last year and everything has been geared for this campaign so a win this weekend would have us heading south with great confidence.” Owner Greg Mitchell said.

The former New Zealand pacer has surprisingly tasted defeat at his past two starts at Albion Park; he was scorched by a red-hot Medal Of Honour in a Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final on January 24 after breezing while he went down on Tuesday as a short priced favourite.

Stablemate and proven feature race winner Major Moment conquered Alleluia when he was able to lead throughout under stand-start conditions.

“I haven’t been disappointed by his latest defeats, in fact, I thought he was tremendous when Medal Of Honour beat us because we did all the work and the times were fantastic while he lost a lot of early ground on Tuesday before being forced to chase hard.

“He’s clearly the horse to beat in the final this weekend and I think that run on Tuesday and looking at the tapes will be very beneficial for him in the final, I think he was caught off guard a little. With a clean getaway, I think he will find the lead and prove very hard to catch.

“He’s been great fun and very consistent since I bought him last year, he raced great through the winter carnival against Bling It On and the performance in the Breeders Crown Final was simply outstanding considering the barrier draw and sectionals that were posted.”

Alleluia will start next week in the Gr.2 $50,000 Hondo Grattan Stakes at Menangle where he’s expected to clash with Bling It On among others.

The Gr.2 $50,000 Paleface Adios Stakes on February 21 is also shortlisted if he fails to qualify in the Hondo Grattan.

“We’ll start in both races if need be but hopefully he does enough to stamp his ticket the first time around. The depth in this division is truly extraordinary and could easily be the main race on Inter Dominion Grand Final day.

“The Kiwis are loaded with stars while Victoria has plenty of emerging types and then there’s Bling It On, a horse we know well. It’s very exciting to be a part of this great race and I’m sure he’ll perform at his best, like he always does.”

Mitchell is also looking forward for his trotter Our Overanova to tackle feature races in Sydney and Melbourne in the coming weeks.

Our Overanova must overcome a 50m handicap on Saturday night at Albion Park over the short distance of 2138m.

The Monarchy gelding resumed with a solid second behind Our Billy Ray at Albion Park on January 24.

Our Overanova is qualified for the Gr.1 $300,000 Great Southern Star at TABCORP Park, Melton on March 7 following his victory in the Gr.3 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final back in October.

Both Alleluia and Our Overanova are trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon.

Hoofnote; Greg Mitchell is the current Racing Queensland Harness Chairman.

by Chris Barsby

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