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2014 Breeders Crown betting preview: Tabcorp Park, Melton, Vic; Sunday, August 24 (first race at 12.05pm, last race at 6.01pm)
Breeders Crown Super Sunday is fast overtaking the Inter Dominion as harness racing’s biggest event. Today’s card at Tabcorp Park Melton features 10 Group 1 races offering combined prizemoney of more than $1.5 million. Like the Inter Dominion, the rivalry between the biggest names in Australian and New Zealand harness racing is again at the fore. The marquee race of the day is the Breeders Crown final for three-year-old colts and geldings.
Australia’s Bling It On has been almost unbeatable against our best this season, but he meets the talented Our Sky Major from the stables of master Kiwi horseman Barry Purdon. Our Sky Major edged-out Bling It On in an enthralling semi-final battle at Ballarat last Saturday night, but the barrier draw for the final has prompted punters to plonk on the Aussie to reverse the result on Sunday.
The Belinda McCarthy-trained Bling It On – boasting 17 wins from 22 starts this season – has been backed from $2.40 into $2.10 with TAB since drawing favourably in gate five. Our Sky Major will start from the outside of the back row (gate 13), and has eased from $2.40 to $2.60. The strength of the Kiwi raid on the Crown is exemplified in the $297,000 final for two-year-old fillies where the first five in betting after New Zealand-trained.
The imaginatively-named Katy Perry, trained by Cran Dalgety, has already been crunched from $3 into $2.40 with TAB after drawing barrier three. Barry Purdon’s brother, Mark, trains two of the major dangers in Linda Lovegrace ($3.80) and Big Lucy ($7). The other big Kiwi hopes are Joannes A Delight ($6) and Cyclone Kate ($7.50). Cyclone Kate has an extra strong Kiwi flavour being part-owned by Black Caps cricketer Kyle Mills, who will be trackside.
Dalgety also trains comeback pacer Bit Of A Legend, who has been backed from $2.80 into $2.50 with TAB, despite drawing outside the back row (gate 13) for the $100,000 final for four-year-old entires and geldings. Bit Of Legend, who was racing for the first time this year when he impressively won a Crown heat last Sunday, is aiming for a clean sweep after winning the Crown two and three-year-old finals over the past two years.
R1 #5 I’m Smouldering (E/W) – with the superstar Frith drawn on the inside of the second row, Gavin Lang should be able to control proceedings in the 4yo Mares Final from a draw of five. She looked back to her best after her tough run for second to Frith last Sunday in the heat. The each-way price appeals given the favourite’s short quote.
R4 #1 Spidergirl (win) – the 4yo Trotters Final looks a benefit for Chris Alford and his mare after drawing the inside spot. She has been in outstanding form all season, having won five group races and only missing a placing on one occasion in 11 starts. Spidergirl has gate speed to burn and is as tough as she is quick.
R7 #3 Our Sky Major (win) – the draw says Bling It On should win but the extra value on Our Sky Major appeals thanks to his draw on the outside of the second line. He looks right in the zone at the moment and won the Harness Jewels in New Zealand two months ago from five on the second line.
R9 #7 Follow The Stars (win) – trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, this Victorian bred son of Art Major is nine from 10 this season with his only miss when he was flattened when mounting a run in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge in New Zealand. He can win from the front or off the pace. Price isn’t great but he will win.
• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Tom Waterhouse (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.