AN AWKWARD draw has done little to dampen Melanie Elder’s confidence ahead of Saturday night’s Inner City Pace in Maitland.
Elder will contest the Group Three with in-form pacer Ashark, which will begin from barrier four.
Hinting the son of Four Starzzz Shark will be sent forward early, Elder hopes Ashark can settle close to the tempo early.
“The draw is only a starting position really,” Elder said. “There is a lot of speed on his inside and on his outside, so it is hard to say where he might be when they settle.
“He will likely go forward and look for a position close to the speed.”
Boasting three wins from his last four starts, Ashark led throughout from barrier two in his heat.
Driven by Brad Elder – who will partner the gelding in the Final – Ashark rated 2:01.8 over 2422 metres.
Persimmon was the fastest of the qualifiers, rating 2:01.6 for Inter Dominion winning trainer, Kevin Pizzuto.
Citing Persimmon as a major threat, Elder stated it is “too hard” to pinpoint the one to beat.
A $3.25 favourite, Persimmon will begin from gate five. Ashark is on the fourth line of betting at $9.
“They are all hard to beat in Finals like this,” Elder said. “The race could go so many ways which makes it too hard to pick one out.
“All I know is Ashark hoppled yesterday and felt fresh and good…nothing has really changed since his heat, so he is ready to go again.”