• garrards 2020
  • Racing Tips
    Blake’s making his mark with the best of them Blake’s making his mark with the best of them

    ON A ROLL: Blake Hughes.

    PROMISING reinsman Blake Hughes continues to enjoy a remarkable run of success in harness racing. The 19-year-old is recognised as one of the Hunter... Blake’s making his mark with the best of them

    PROMISING reinsman Blake Hughes continues to enjoy a remarkable run of success in harness racing.

    The 19-year-old is recognised as one of the Hunter Valley’s most talented reinsmen and is currently working fulltime for the busy Clayton Harmey stable.

    Currently sitting fifth on the state’s drivers’ premiership table with 59 winners from 310 drives in 2022, Hughes has displayed a high level of consistency, finishing in the first four placings 186 times.

    That strike rate is almost identical to his achievements during the 2019-20 season when he landed an impressive 121 winners and 212 minor placings.

    Joining the Clayton Harmey enterprise has certainly been the defining factor for Hughes’ success and their prominence at Newcastle has seen them dominate at the International Paceway where tonight Blake will have six drives.

    “I am really pleased with the way things are going again this season,” said Hughes.

    “It has been an optimistic goal of mine each season to land a century of winners, however I would like to gain more opportunities at Menangle.

    “But I am quite content to be driving winners up here and have been blessed to have been part of Clayton’s team.

    “He gives both myself and my partner Grace (Panella) many opportunities to drive winners.”

    While he believes the horses he will drive at Newcastle tonight all have realistic each-way chances, Hughes nominated Chevrons Bypass in Race 3 as his best winning chance on what is a solid nine-race program.

    “Chevrons Bypass does appear to be my best of the night,” he said.

    “She is absolutely flying at the moment and her win last week was impressive as she led and was strong to the line after setting a brisk pace over the 2030-metre trip.

    “She is still only a three-year-old filly and has done a fantastic job progressing through the grades.

    “Tonight, she faces a bigger step-up, but I definitely feel she is up to the task.

    “Gate one will no doubt benefit her.

    “She is a lot better in front so hopefully she can lead from the draw.

    “I am also keen on the chances of Adams It in the last race.

    “It is almost 10 months since he last won but I thought his effort to run third last week was quite good and he gets back into a winnable race here.”

    • MICK DUMESNY

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