So many of our good horses are gone.
It’s a broken record but it’s also a fact.
The Australasian harness racing scene has lost a bunch of its standout horses, either to injury (Soho Tribeca, Hectorjayjay, Jilliby Kung Fu), retirement (Lennytheshark, Bling It On) or to the United States (Lazarus, Heaven Rocks etc).
However, the sun always comes up the next morning and suddenly an even group of budding stars have emerged.
That’s why the 2018 Victoria Cup looms as a beauty.
It’s not as lucrative as it used to be and it’s not in its ‘usual’ spot on the calendar but what this race does possess is a 12 competitive and combative horses all ready and willing to go for glory.
Let’s go inside the Group 1 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup;
VICTORIA CUP (2240m, Group 1 $200,000)
1 GOTTA GO YA HU (Lachie Manzelmann for S & L Tritton)
Past seven starts have been a mile at Menangle so this is a different kettle of fish. His last effort at eleven furlongs… an eighth to Bernie Winkle. Is $9 but I’d want 20/1.
2 TIGER TARA (Todd McCarthy for Kevin Pizzuto)
Looked gone before savaging the line last weekend, running second to stable mate Majordan. Always seems to draw well – and feature prominently – in big races.
3 CHICAGO BULL (Gary Hall Jr for Gary Hall Sr)
The dominant favourite entering the race but what looks to be a great barrier could be troublesome. Doubtful he can cross Tiger Tara whilst everything else has above average or better gate speed. Barring horrific luck, you’d expect him to run top three.
4 IM THE BOSS (Greg Sugars for David Aiken)
With Kima Frenning choosing Wrappers Delight, Greg Sugars jumps aboard. No idea where he gets to in transit which is a worry as he likes to dictate terms.
5 MACH DORO (Luke McCarthy for Craig Cross)
Electric off the arm. Expect Luke McCarthy to light him up and attempt to cross. Once he does, Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull will come looking for the front. Should he cross without charging at a suicidal pace, he’s a nice place hope at a big price.
6 FRANCO NELSON (Lauren Tritton for S & L Tritton)
A proven performer at this level. Injuries have made him stagger but his Group 1 victory last season proves he’s still got punch. Shane Tritton says he’s capable of being the best horse in the race but where does he end up in the run ?
7 WRAPPERS DELIGHT (Kima Frenning for David Aiken)
Could be a season too soon but everything he’s asked to do, he does. Gate seven could bring him undone but trainer David Aiken has hinted he’ll be asking Kima Frenning to come off the arm and try slot in as handy as possible.
8 MAJORDAN (Chris Geary for Kevin Pizzuto)
Has been electrifying in Sydney but often when he’s led and dictated. Here, he’s probably not a winning commodity but a place hope for sure. For mine, he’s most likely three back on the pegs which is why I doubt he can win.
9 SHADOW SAX (Chris Alford for Emma Stewart)
Had a dreamy run last week but was a shade short when he pressed for the lead in the lane. Emma Stewart says he has heaps of improvement in him and he might just get the perfect trailing draw whilst all others go to war. A real hope.
10 CARLAS PIXEL (Gavin Lang for Dean Braun)
Perhaps fortunate to get a run but she’s a proven speed demon when the speed is on. She certainly prefers mile racing but anything can happen in these big ones. She’d need chaotic early sectionals to be in with a shot.
11 MY ALPHA ROCK (Josh Aiken for S & L Tritton)
You can sense Shane Tritton really rates this guy. He’s impressed me greatly but winning from gate 11 looks awfully hard. Better things lay ahead for him but making an early move to get into the race might be his only hope.
12 AMERETTO (Kerryn Manning for Kerryn Manning)
Kerryn Manning is the only trainer/driver in this year’s Victoria Cup. That’s pretty cool. From a racing perspective, her mare is as capable as any in the race but boy o boy does gate 12 make life difficult. Cushy run, attack the line and live to fight another day.
13 THREE WAYS (Kate Gath for Andy Gath)
The emergency of the race. Drawing 13 probably means he’s best served missing a start and going in as a live hope in the free for all race.
1st Shadow Sax (9)
2nd Chicago Bull (3)
3rd Wrappers Delight (7)
4th Tiger Tara (2)
Boxed First Four – 2,3,5,7,9 ($100 for 83%)
Others worth a nibble;
R6 N10 Kyvalley Blur
R7 N5 Mach Doro place
R10 N10 La Grange
R1: 8 Mad Robber – 13 Star Of Memphis – 1 Motu Gatecrasher
R2: 5 Lookofalegend – 1 Pental Sunrise – 11 Cruz
R3: 6 Rock Tonight – 1 My Skypocket – 8 Enrolled
R4: 1 Marvellous Max – 8 Variance – 2 Shared Interest
R5: 10 Cash N Flow – 3 Motu Meteor – 5 Makes Every Scents
R6: 10 Kyvalley Blur – 8 Dance Craze – 3 Tornado Valley
R7: 9 Shadow Sax – 3 Chicago Bull – 7 Wrappers Delight
R8: 2 Macey Jayde – 1 Somerocksomeroll – 8 Herehecomes
R9: 4 With Gusto – 8 Intransit – 9 Sultan Fella
R10: 10 La Grange – 11 Majestic Pride – 4 Kyvalley Tinman