It’s been a long (almost) 12 months for all closely involved in Australia’s best pacer LOCHINVAR ART, and the same could be said for his supporters.
A frustrating run of issues throughout the early part of last year, which eventually ruled the star pacer out of the Carnival Of Miracles, has meant he hasn’t been seen since his breathtaking Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup victory on Febraury 6.
The comeback is on tomorrow evening in his local Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup where he is not only looking to return with a victory, but also claim back-to-back successes.
Trialling at Melton last Tuesday, he sat in behind TANGO TARA, before peeling to the outside of the Andy Gath-trained pacer and going to the line with him in a very quick closing panel. He also had a sharpener at Shepparton trials on Tuesday evening to ensure he is as close to the mark as possible.
This Saturday night the barrier draw certainly favours Tango Tara from the inside gate after he ran an eye-catching third to SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS in last week’s Bendigo Cup.
Spirit Of St Louis will be looking to take home the spoils in another country cup but looks unlikely to be treated to the same front-running position as seven days earlier.
David Moran was more than happy with what his star performer has done in his two trials to date when speaking during the week on Sky Sports Radio's On The Pace.
“He is a bit of a lazy customer at home and acts like a two-year-old every time he comes back in, so it was good to get his mindset back and for him to see the mobile like race conditions”.
Safely through his first start back, his path to the Hunter Cup remains unclear. The Casey Classic was originally planned as his final lead up a week earlier, however on closer inspection, the preferential draw on recent earnings would have him automatically draw the worst.
In exciting news for various jurisdictions, his early season targets past the Hunter Cup include the Miracle Mile and New Zealand’s new slot event “The Race” in April.
WHILE Lochinvar Art’s return is the headline act on Shepparton Cup night, the Derby Royale Trotters FFA looks a great race with two mains hope going head-to-head in POWDERKEG and MAJESTUOSO.
The TAB market currently can’t split them with $2 equal favouritism shared.
POWDERKEG most recently ran a solid second in the four-year-old Vicbred Super Series final on New Year’s Eve and has the fortune of a front row draw advantage over his main rival.
MAJESTUOSO has been regarded as Australia’s top square gaiter for the last 12 months, however suffered a hiccup at his last start with an atrial fibrillation. Not taking any ill effects, he trialled sharply against the pacers earlier this week to ready him for this assignment.
BEST of the weekend: Redcliffe, Saturday, R1 N1 Ohoka Chopper
VALUE of the weekend: Redcliffe Saturday, R5 N8 Tinge Of Fear
Brittany Graham is a regular host on Sky Racing and the Sky Racing Active app, plus In The Gig with Ben Way and Gareth Hall every Tuesday night on Sky Racing 2 from 6pm.
The opinions expressed in The Forum are those of the author and may not be attributed to or represent policies of Harness Racing Victoria, which is the state authority and owner of thetrots.com.au.