• Racing Tips
    Scene set for gripping Final Scene set for gripping Final

    HARDHITTER - Photo Ashlea Brennan

    TONIGHT’S New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle have set the scene for a gripping decider. Back at the world class... Scene set for gripping Final

    TONIGHT’S New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle have set the scene for a gripping decider.

    Back at the world class venue to defend his title, Hardhitter proved he is primed to retain the ‘belt’ when he captured the opening qualifier for trainer Emma Stewart.

    Driven by local reinsman Luke McCarthy, the Australian Pacing Gold purchase led throughout from barrier two to account for the ever-consistent Lochinvar Art and Im Bruce Almighty.

    “I couldn’t be happier with his condition heading into the Final,” Stewart said. “He’s won his three starts from a break, including a good run tonight.

    “That will top him off for the Final in eight days time.

    “It’s not going to be an easy race, but he is going into it in perfect condition.”

    Owned by a large syndicate, the son of Mach Three covered the mile in 1:51.4, with his time nine-tenths of a second quicker than Max Delight in the following semi.

    With McCarthy’s brother, Todd, holding the reins, Max Delight began quickly to lead from barrier seven as Make Mine Memphis worked overtime in the ‘death seat’.

    Never seriously challenged, the Australian Pacing Gold graduate was untouched to score 12 metres from Rockin Marty, with Leonidas a half-neck away third.

    Winner of the New South Wales Derby last March, Max Delight is ready to add another top shelf event to his tally according to trainer David Aiken.

    “He was first-up for three months when he won his heat a fortnight ago and was better for the run tonight,” Aiken said.

    “He improved quite a bit between the heat and this semi and I expect that to be the case again going into the Final on June 30.”

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    Paul Courts

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