October 13, 2017 Michael Court
CERTAINLY taking home a $30,000 cheque is not to be sneezed at.
And that’s exactly what some of Australia’s best pacers will have to settle for when they contest Saturday night’s $200,000 Allied Express Victoria Cup at Melton.
Because when the draw was held earlier this week it does appear the first Group One of the new harness racing season has been handed to champion pacer Lennytheshark on a silver platter.
The eight-year-old super horse drew gate one in the 2240m feature, suggesting the $114,000 first prize cheque was as good as in the bank for the son Four Starzzz Shark.
And even star reinsman Chris Alford, who’ll pilot ‘Lenny’ was reluctant to suggest there was something else in the race that could beat last year’s Miracle Mile and 2015 Inter Dominion champion.
“It’s probably going to take something crazy to happen for someone to get across him from there and bring him undone,” said Alford.
“We could not be happier with that draw.
“He’s come through last week’s win really well and we’re ready.”
That suggests the rest of them are racing for second place.
And the best of those appears to be former Kiwi My Field Marshall, the star of the Tim Butt stable since they decided to settle in Sydney and keep a satellite stable operating in New Zealand.
My Field Marshall is a deserved second favourite, despite getting no favours from the draw and coming up with gate 10.
Tim’s brother/reinsman Anthony Butt still rates My Field Marshall a chance to topple Lennytheshark, despite that horror draw.
“Sure, we’ll need some luck but it was a super run by our horse the other night,” said Anthony.
“He dragged a flat tyre for the last 600m and I was really happy with him.
“We’re definitely a winning chance, but as I said he’ll just need a little bit of luck and for things to go our way.”
Meanwhile harness racing heads for Wagga this afternoon with the feature race a heat of the rich Menangle Country Series.
Trainer David Druitt has a double shot at glory with polemarker Kerobokan and stablemate Pure Cam (Jordon Druitt) both excellent chances of qualifying for the big finale at Menangle in a couple of weeks’ time.
A winner at Leeton three starts back, Pure Cam continues to improve and her two Wagga runs since then have been full of merit.
If Kerobokan can hold the lead from gate one, you’d expect Pure Cam to be right on his back and if the gap should open up in the straight Pure Cam has the speed to take advantage of that and should finish too powerfully for her rivals and score a ride to Menangle for the October 29 showdown with the other country contenders.