THERE is nothing better in this industry than winning a Group One – you could even refer to it as harness racing’s Mecca.
Just having a horse compete at such a level is considered a thrill, while winning a top shelf even can be a form of paradise.
At Tabcorp Park Menangle tomorrow night Victorian horseman Ahmed Taiba is hoping to continue his pilgrimage towards such grandeur when he contests a New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge semi-final.
And Taiba has just the filly to guide him along his ‘Hajj’ to the winners’ podium!
Successful at three of her last four starts, including a series heat a fortnight ago, Our Road To Mecca is the short priced favourite after drawing barrier four.
The Australian Pacing Gold purchase slots into two with the removal of the emergencies.
Early markets have the daughter of Art Major at $1.90.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way she is going,” Taiba said. “She has shown promise ever since we got her from the Sale, but was a big over grown filly which was always going to be better as she grew into herself.
“She already takes a 64-inch hopple and is still growing.
“Her form this time in has been terrific and I can’t see any reason why that should stop.
“Robbie (Morris) drove her in the heat and is sticking with her which I’m also happy about. As far as I’m concerned he is the best driver in the state.”
Citing Miss Halfpenny as the main danger, Taiba is also weary of Sheeza Melteeza.
Winner of last season’s two-year-old division, Miss Halfpenny, which finished third behind Our Road To Mecca in their heat, has drawn gate five.
Racing in sensation form, with three wins and a second from her last four outings, Sheeza Melteeza has drawn wide in seven.
Miss Halfpenny and Sheeza Melteeza are equal second favourites at $9.
“Miss Halfpenny is a very consistent filly and has proven she can win at this level,” Taiba said. “Sheeza Melteeza is flying at the moment and can’t be taken lightly even from her draw.”