IF semi-final night was anything to go on, then the upcoming Saturday evening of Harness Racing promises to be a memorable one.
Undefeated young guns, match races between stable mates, boom horses with eyes on the upcoming Inter Dominion series and a Classic-aged colts and geldings race that will whet any appetite – there are storylines galore this weekend at Tabcorp Park Melton.
Last weekend’s semi-finals were profitable, with five of our eight suggested bets saluting plus those who followed along extra close would’ve landed the first four in the second semi for three-year-old fillies, which paid around $70.
Super Saturday Grand Final night becomes tough to identify winners but place bets are again juicy with so many talented horses going around at each way odds.
Let’s sink our teeth into this magnificent 11-race card.
RACE 1 – 3YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS
Full disclosure: trotting is not my go-to but you’ve got to be in it to win it so here goes.
I’m huge on Stress Factor here and he’s actually one of my best for the night. He hails from the dominant All Stars barn in New Zealand and since moving to Oz has not put a hoof out of place.
He accounted for all of his main rivals in the Trotters Derby a couple of weeks back and from gate two, $3+ looks delicious.
Behind him, Anywhere Hugo will get a gun run and provided he behaves should run top three whilst Majestic Player and La Grange can be factors from the Yabby Dam stable. Majestic Courtney could rattle home from three-pegs and Kyvalley Finn represents value.
1 Stress Factor
2 Anywhere Hugo
3 Majestic Courtney
4 Majestic Player
BEST BET: Stress Factor to win $3.40
RACE 2 – 2YO TROTTING FILLIES
Yabby Dam have four runners so strength in numbers is always worth remembering but this one looks a race in two. Sleepee, drawn three, and Emerald Stride, drawn four.
You’d think one will lead and the other will be forced to park out despite Emerald Stride proving incredibly dangerous and effective from the pegs.
Command Me has big wraps but has drawn the car park and Georgias Pride has race experience and should run on well from a peg-line trip.
2 Emerald Stride
3 Command Me
4 Georgias Pride
BEST BET: Exacta – Sleepee to beat Emerald Stride
RACE 3 – 3YO TROTTING FILLIES
Kiwi Our Show Gait is a winner of five from 11 races but she’s reeled off three straight victories and looks the obvious winner here. Mark Purdon takes the drive.
Pretty Majestic – from the Anton Golino juggernaut – has been popular with punters early days and could hold out the favourite from the draws.
Stable mate Parisian Opera should take a trail, ensuring a sweet run whilst Moonshine Linda will be a place contender from three-back and The Great Redeemer was a mind-blowingly great run in the semi despite breaking his gait early.
1 Pretty Majestic
2 Our Show Gait
3 The Great Redeemer
4 Mar Pacifico
BEST BET: Pretty Majestic to win $2.80
RACE 4 – 2YO FILLIES
I tipped Kualoa in her semi-final over Our Princess Tiffany because Emma Stewart’s filly has been a killing machine lately and Purdon is notorious for building his horses into their campaigns.
Our Princess Tiffany did not get the memo as she strolled to the lead, thanks to the help of a roughly-gaited Kualoa, then ran along all the way and bolted to an easy win.
There’s every chance Kualoa can hold the lead this week but I doubt it will alter the outcome of the race.
Tangoingwithsierra is a perfect place option, Enchanted Stride is also a top four hope from three-pegs whilst Stewart duo Swimsuit Edition and Two Times Bettor should get into the race late. Miss Streisand was a nice semi victor but from gate 11 it will be difficult.
1 Our Princess Tiffany
4 Two Times Bettor
BEST BET: First Four – 6 from 4 from 1,8,13 from 1,8,11,13
RACE 5 – 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS
Centenario or Hurricane Harley. Hurricane Harley or Centenario. Perhaps it’s still unclear who actually is the No. 1 seed but they’ll clash as the two favourites in their third Group 1 for the season.
Emma Stewart has six engaged in this one with all of them having the ability to feature.
Mark Purdon’s Another Masterpiece ran a ripping semi and I like him as an each way hope to upstage the big two.
Nostra Ideal is a nice place bet should he cross then hand to Centenario whilst anyone else being prominent would be a major surprise.
1 Another Masterpiece
2 Hurricane Harley
4 Nostra Ideal
BEST BET: Another Masterpiece each way $5.50
RACE 6 – 4YO ENTIRES & GELDINGS
Wrappers Delight was enormous at his most recent start. Over the mile, he sat outside the speed and did all the work, being beaten a lip in a dazzling 1:52.5 mile rate. He’s the benchmark in this race despite the unbeaten brilliance of The Storm Inside casting his considerable shadow.
The Storm Inside has won his four starts back from a nightmare period of injury and illness but he has not been tested like he will be this weekend.
Wrappers Delight will run along and you’d think they’ll run time, meaning The Storm Inside will need to make a mid-race move, sit outside a proven performer and beat him.
From the draws, Our Positano and Sirletic are worthy and San Domino could run a race with a hectic early tempo.
1 Wrappers Delight
2 The Storm Inside
3 Our Positano
4 San Domino
BEST BET: Wrappers Delight to win $2
RACE 7 – 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS
Take a breath. This will be something else!
The horse power is electrifying and the barrier draw has improved the script.
Colt Thirty One gets the ace, but he needs to prove he is up there with the three big guns. Those three, Ride High, Poster Boy and Ignatius have all drawn the second row meaning moves will be made and the pace will be hectic.
Tam Major and Major Times will be working Colt Thirty One early to test him for the front and should either land there, a placing will be alive.
Poster Boy has a nice draw considering he’s already in the running line and will follow out Tam Major.
It might be hard to locate a winner in this one so perhaps sit back and watch a magical group of three-year-olds hopefully do something special.
1 Ride High
2 Poster Boy
4 Colt Thirty One
BEST BET: Ride High each way $4.40
RACE 8 – 3YO FILLIES
Speak No Evil is $1.25 because she’s almost guaranteed the front. Stable mate Molly Kelly can hold up for as long as she chooses but will almost certainly take a trail on the fave.
From there, you’re looking for first four chances which should be found with Angel Of Arts, the impressive Our Angel Of Harlem, Soho Burning Love and even Macey Jayde at huge odds who will get an easy pegs run.
1 Speak No Evil
2 Angel Of Arts
3 Soho Burning Love
4 Our Angel Of Harlem
BEST BET: Angel Of Arts place $5.75
RACE 9 – 2YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS
Always Ready is the one here. He’s ran first or second in all of his seven starts and should lead from gate five.
Behind him, Orlando Jolt will go well, as will stable mate Montpellier and Chris Alford-driven Kyvalley Clichy.
From there, go wide and hope for the best.
1 Always Ready
2 Orlando Jolt
4 Kyvalley Clichy
BEST BET: Orlando Jolt place $2.70
RACE 10 – 4YO MARES
Carlas Pixel is brilliant over a mile but less than stunning over a longer trip. This middle distance task should be no issue, particularly if she leads from gate five.
Cherry Stride will be hoping to hold her wide and Make Mine Heaven might beat them both to the pegs. Flying Moth will likely get to the breeze and she never gives in. Nothing off the back row looks dangerous.
1 Carlas Pixel
2 Flying Moth
3 Cherry Stride
4 Make Mine Heaven
RACE 11 – GRADUATE CUP
A seven-horse, $20,000 race caps off a splendid night of racing and those looking to resurrect a horror night on the punt (hopefully not anyone following these tips), it’s a tough task to go out on.
Van Mara should start favourite but it mixes its form whilst Striking Beauty will challenge for favouritism but it has done its best work from cushy gates.
South Aussie Just Rockon Bye has a nice draw but performed poorly last week from the same draw but in a much, much stronger race.
1 Van Mara
2 Just Rockon Bye
3 Striking Beauty
4 Christian Major
BEST BET: Small win bet, Just Rockon Bye $8
BEST BETS OF THE NIGHT: R1 N2 Stress Factor to win ($3.40)
BEST VALUE: R5 N9 Another Masterpiece $5.50
R1 N2 place, R4 N4 place, R5 N9 place ($3.20)
R6 N5 win, R8 N2 place, R9 N5 win ($13)
R4 N6 win, R6 N13 place, R7 N12 place, R10 N6 place ($4.70)