THE Rising Sun would have to be one of the most anticipated races, particularly in Queensland, for some time in Australasian harness racing.
The lead-in has been enthralling, with participants and connections eager to be involved, and harness racing fans enjoying the build up and watching the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
Now, we are within 48 hours of the inaugural running and the field assembled probably exceeds realistic expectations.
Whilst the big three in the market, and most people’s contention of KRUG, EXPENSIVE EGO and COPY THAT are undoubtedly superstars, the remainder of the field are also incredibly deserving of their spots in the $250,000 G1 feature.
Even more is at stake though for the duo of three-year-olds, with a further $100,000 bonus on the line.
Whilst we all try to figure out the most likely victor, lets break down the field’s credentials.
WITH final places on the line, many contenders will be relying on strong performances across this weekend to solidify their positions in next Saturday’s inaugural Rising Sun at Albion Park.
With that in mind, this is what we know at this point.
With PATBEACHSTORM declining his wild card invitation, we are now left with three confirmed invitees.
Last week’s stunning Redcliffe Derby winner KRUG is now the lone three-year-old at this stage with the one gate guaranteed should no others choose to take on the older rivals.
This weekend is Redcliffe’s time to shine, where potentially the strongest ever line up of horses will converge on the Peninsula in search of feature race success.
The track’s lone Group 1 feature, the Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series final, will take centre stage with $100,000 on offer for 10 juvenile competitors.
A capacity field of open class pacers will face the tapes in the Redcliffe Gold Cup over 2613m where standing start manners are going to be integral. It is a case of the master and the apprentice when it comes to TAB favouritism with L L COOL J and COLT THIRTY ONE heading the charge.
DOES the excitement and anticipation surrounding The Rising Sun suggest that more emphasis should be placed on the four-year-old season?
The options for two and three-year-olds are endless, and it is nigh on impossible for any youngster to target all of the riches available, though the same cant be said at four.
Quite often thought of as a bridging year, the step from age group racing to open company is daunting and the rough and tough nature of the competition can sometimes dent a horse’s confidence. Potentially extenuating the circumstances is how quickly a talented horse can now race their way through the ratings, where a return over a national rating of 100 is extremely difficult.
THE Harness Jewels certainly lived up to some high expectations in my book last weekend!
Whilst the weather wasn’t perfect, it certainly didn’t dampen what was an extremely entertaining day of racing. Even the best cards generally have a race or two that may not live up to extreme levels of excitement, however, that could not be said for Cambridge’s meeting.
Star after star rolled on to the 1000-metre circuit in search of Group 1 success and, although the prizemoney may have been on a decline from prior years, very few big names were absent.
UNFORTUNATELY COVID has reared its ugly head once more in Victoria, forcing this weekend’s Group 1 Tabcorp Park Melton meeting to change course.
With Victoria being forced into a seven-day snap lockdown, only necessary participants and officials will be permitted on track, with owners and spectators not allowed.
The Group 1 two-year-old state finals have not been affected, with the fields made up of Victorian pacers, however the same cannot be said for the three-year-olds.
HE was one of the best modern-day pacers to grace the racetrack.
SOMEBEACHESOMEWHERE was defeated just once in a 21-start career, whilst banking $3.3 million dollars in the process and taking a lifetime mark of 1:46.4 seconds.
Winning everything of note as a two and three-year-old in North America, his stud career was highly anticipated and the expectation was extreme.
The strength of the Queensland breeding industry will be on shown this Saturday night with the running of the QBRED Triad finals for three and four-year-old’s.
Queensland has produced some of the sport’s brightest stars in the last two decades including the likes of BLACKS A FAKE, FLEUR DE LIL and COLT THIRTY ONE. Now the search is on for the next Maroon poster child.
With two $100,000 features for the three-year-old pacing divisions, the barrier draws conducted on Tuesday created plenty of intrigue.
FOR the second week in a row Group 1 racing will staged at harness headquarters in Victoria.
Tabcorp Park Melton will host the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Homegrown Classic finals for two-year-old trotters over the sprint trip.
In the colts and geldings division, only 10 runners contested the lone heat at Maryborough, with all starters progressing through to the final. The fillies' division did host two heats with a total of 15 fillies competing therefore the top five in each heat improve through to their rich final.
This occurrence begs the question, are there too many Group 1 races on the Australian calendar?
The train now rolls on to Sydney after an ultra-entertaining Victorian TAB Summer Of Glory, where the King reigned once more, Team Gath again asserted their dominance on the trotting gait and a new wave of future Grand Circuit stars put their hooves up to be counted.
However, there will hardly be a moment to catch our breath as our focus is drawn north.