BLASTER Ranger won his fifth race at Wagga this season with another dominant display on Friday setting him up for numerous options next season.
The three-year-old has won more races at the new Riverina Paceway than any other pacer with five victories pushing him into calculations for Horse Of The Year honors.
However, with two meetings remaining at Wagga to close out the season, Blaster Ranger still trails Seattle Trace by three points.
“We would like to try and win the Horse Of The Year, but he would have to gain points at both meetings and the leader not any,” trainer-driver Matthew Harris said.
“Instead, he will have four months off then come back for some nice races where we hope he can run well.”
One of those races Harris is referring to are the heats of the Million Dollar Pace in May, which will mean Harris will have to time his racing to ensure he isn’t over-qualified.
“The heats are one option plus there are some other nice races,” he said.
Blaster Ranger is owned by his breeder Ted Baker, who also has the winner’s dam, Jennas Ranger, who was the winner of 16 races.
Harris has had to take his time with Blaster Ranger, but there is no doubting his ability.
“The education is helping him,” Harris said.
“He isn’t that tractable and wanted to bore out in the straight.
“You would love to have a horse in a million dollar race, but there will be a lot of nice horses in it.
“He had a run in the open Breeders Challenge.
“He went well in the heat, but I bypassed the semi.
“He has a strong constitution and can take racing.
“He has natural ability, but he is also a slow learner.”
Meanwhile, Ellen Bartley celebrated her 100th winner as a driver and is close to a century as a trainer, courtesy of the win by Uroc Baby.
Bartley has 98 winners as a trainer after the win by Girls Got Courage and brought up the century as a driver with the win by Uroc Baby for trainer Rick Burnett.
It was Uroc Baby’s first win at start No. 33.
Bartley took out last season’s Southwest & Riverina training premiership and is close to a repeat with only a few meetings remaining.
She is locked in a battle with Bruce Harpley and has numbers on her side with only weeks remaining in the season.
By GRAEME WHITE