When the dust settled on the Breeders Crown and we wound down another racing season, it was a long month or so (especially without footy finals for some) until we began to see the gun horses return to racing.
This week, we’ll cop a genuinely good race with a a handful of Group 1 winners clashing in the Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint at Tabcorp Park Melton.
With the Victoria Cup looming, the New Zealand Cup not too far behind and ID18 as open as anyone can remember – this week’s Smoken Up Sprint will give us a great line of sight on some of Victoria’s most powerful pacers.
Here is a look at the major players and how I see things playing out;
1 AMERETTO (Kerryn Manning) $4
This mare burst onto the Victorian scene when landing at Kerryn Manning’s farm. She was already ultra-talented but since trekking south, she can lay serious claim to being Australia’s No. 1 mare. First up with fitter combatants, I expect her to take a trail and hope to explode up the lane. I doubt Manning will want to expose her to a brutal run with so much racing ahead.
3 WRAPPERS DELIGHT (Kima Frenning) $2.50
I remember backing this guy when he was a coil-up and hope for a break type of horse. Nowadays, he still has high speed but his toughness is his major attribute. He’s won two Group 1’s this season but both were in four-year-old company. Getting ahold of this field will really do wonders for his chances in genuine Grand Circuit company.
We own his little brother so I’m always cheering this guy on!
8 AUDI HARE (David Moran) $8
He’s an excellent place hope regardless but should Ameretto lead with Wrappers Delight pouring on the pressure then this fella really comes into things.
He loves trailing and relishes fast mile racing. He needs to do some damage in races like this to be considered a genuine contender in any of the three upcoming Grand Circuit events.
10 SHADOW SAX (Chris Alford)
He took all before him last season, predominantly on the Country Cups scene. He’s debuting for this season but his previous campaign saw him race 14 times for 11 wins and more than $280,000 in stakes.
He’s all class and should be even better this time around but he’ll need to be incredible to feature from gate 10 when they’ll likely run 1:53 or better on the pegs.
2 Burnaholeinmypocket – Improved markedly of late but sneaking in behind Ameretto would be best case scenario. Unlikely to feature.
4 Keep On Rocking – Not far away from the best but far enough. May be forced to breeze which would spell disaster.
6 Carlas Pixel – Speed demon who loves mile racing but no hope to get to the pegs so almost no hope unless they carve each other up.
7 Love Ina Chevy – Amazing horse. Recovered from a snake bite to race at any level is a huge effort but this guy is competing with the best. Unfortunately he loves the pegs and he’s not getting them tonight.
1 Wrappers Delight (3) – He’s fit, fast off the arm and has a good gate. Hard to go past.
2 Ameretto (1) – Kerryn will assess quickly but expect to trail and run third at worst.
3 Shadow Sax (10) – Maybe the class commodity but hard to beat rivals from 10.
4 Audi Hard (8) – A blowout chance should the 1 lead but likely to run 2nd, 3rd or 4th at worst.