THE BARRIER DRAW will be crucial for this week’s Group 3 $33,500 Alabar Golden Nursery Stakes final (1800m) at Globe Derby Park following three heats last weekend.
South-East-owned pacers won two of the three heats while a highly-priced Ready To Run sale purchase scored in the other.
Strongnbold was an impressive all-the-way winner of the Sam and Pauline Spirou Golden Nursery heat one (1800m) for breeder-owner-trainer Desmond Glynn from Mount Gambier East.
Driven by Wayne Hill, Strongnbold ($13.60) rated a quick 1:59.0 in scoring a two-metre win from Mackalan ($1.50 favourite) with Above Average ($3.80), 10m away third.
Glynn was confident of a win and told Hill the gelding would run ‘around 1:58’ and was proved correct.
Strongnbold pushed through from gate one to lead comfortably with Mackalan, backed in from $2.10, settling one-out, one-back for driver Danielle Hill.
With 500m to travel, Hill came wide on the favourite and the colt sprinted sharply to join, and narrowly head the leader off the back and looked a likely winner.
Strongnbold responded to Wayne Hill’s driving and came back to win running away by a metre.
Glynn knows what is required to win a Golden Nursery having taken out the event in 2013 with Major Cruiser.
High-priced purchase Culture King made it two wins straight taking out the HRSA/SA BOTRA Golden Nursery heat two for trainer-driver Paul Cavallaro.
After sitting back, Culture King ($3.70) finished strongly to grab a one metre win from Disclosure ($6.90) with Martys Party ($11.60), four metres away third.
A big colt by Art Major, Culture King has the physique to be better as a three-year-old and Cavallaro believes what he is doing at two is a bonus.
“He is certainly getting better with racing and trials,” Cavallaro said.
“Tonight, he sprinted home strongly with a 28.7s final quarter and hopefully he will be even better again next week.”
Improving Bubbles And Cheese ($1.50 favourite) led throughout for an easy 14m win in the Alabar Golden Nursery Heat three.
Bred and owned by Bob and Zita Maloney from Glencoe in the South-East, Bubbles And Cheese is now trained by Bronte Giorgio at Globe Derby Park.
Michael Smith had the drive on Saturday and rated the two-year-old beautifully with moderate early sectionals before sprinting up the final 500m and winning easily.
Jenesaisquoi ($4.80) held on for second a metre in front of the fast-finishing Shesashark ($9).
Maloney said the filly was improving with racing and had not really been extended in winning.
“She has raced against some of the best in Victoria and not been disgraced,” Maloney said.
“I thought she was very good tonight and expect her to prove a good chance in the final.”
Maloney said Smart Kreuza, the dam of Bubbles And Cheese, also had a filly yearling by Courage Under Fire which looked nice and he was excited about her turning two.