If class counts for anything then four-year-old Goulburn Valley gelding Freemason must be close to a good thing in the final race at Bendigo tonight.
A very promising pacer, Luke Bryant’s son of Mach Three will line up in this evening’s CO only affair fresh form a Breeders Crown campaign which took him all the way to a Group 1 final at Melton.
That means he will go from facing horses like NZ Cup aspirant Fly Like An Eagle and Group 1 winner Mr Nickel to taking on a race where more than half of the runners are yet to break their maiden.
Amazingly however, the presence of a fellow former Kiwi commodity should ensure Freemason won’t get things all his own way tonight.
Luckless in recent starts the Adam Kelly-trained The Midnight Reign has been marked at $2.20 by Harness Racing Victoria form analyst Michael Polster, only marginally behind Freemason at $2.
A lack of nominations has ensured that the Preux Chevalier FFA, scheduled for Tabcorp Park this Friday night, will not go ahead.
Earmarked as the first genuine heavyweight battle of the new racing season, the Preux Chevalier was to host 2008 Victoria Cup winner Melpark Major and three-time Country Cup champion Jaccka Clive.
But with most of Victoria’s fast class pacers frightened off by that quality pair, this weekend will now be highlighted by the open class trot featuring Mister Zion, Don King and Save A Sixpence.
A quality pair of Claiming Masters heats will also take place at Tabcorp Park where Catch Your Breath, Washmepockets and Cosmic Under Fire will strut their stuff with a price tag on their heads.
The prize for them is a spot in Friday week’s $20,000 Claiming Masters Final, a race won by Cincinnati Kid this time last year.
And then there was one.
Chariots of Fire champion Caribbean Blaster is Australia’s only likely New Zealand Cup representative after Dean Braun declared Mustang Mach unlikely to tackle the race.
Unseen since claiming the Group 1 Breeders Crown title for four-year-old males on August 19 at Tabcorp Park, Caribbean Blaster will target the Melton Plate before traversing the Tasman.
An $8.50 chance with the TAB, Caribbean Blaster looks increasingly likely to gain a run in the Addington feature but his likely rivals will become clearer following yesterday’s Ashburton trials.
Defending NZ Cup winner Terror To Love was joined by Auckland Reactor, Sushi Sushi and Highview Tommy at the trials ahead of their much anticipated spring campaigns.
Changes to qualification criteria for the Chariots of Fire could prove important for West Australian prodigy Im Victorious as he continues to build on his impressive record across the Nullarbor.
The winner of nine races from just 10 starts who is trained by 2004 Gold Medal-winning Hockey star Michael Brennan, Im Victorious is widely regarded as one of Australia’s finest four-year-old pacers.
Now he may get the chance to prove that fact on both sides of the country, with the winner of WA’s richest four-year-old feature, the Golden Nugget offered direct qualification to the Chariots of Fire.
Other automatic qualifiers will be New Zealand’s four and five-year-old futurities, Melton’s four-year-old Bonanza and the Hondo Grattan and Paleface Adios Sprints at Menangle.