The Australasian harness racing scene now takes a few months of feature race rest and recovery after a jam packed first half of the year.
While there are still feature races here and there over the coming months, the next carnival of note will be when Victoria steps back into the spotlight headlined by the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup meeting on October 9.
In past years, we would be well in truly in the thick of Breeders Crown preparations, however, with that series pushed back to November, most of the big guns are taking the opportunity for a freshen up.
So where are the stars out of the carnival off to next?
The darling of trotting PINK GALAHS added several adoring Queensland fans to her base through her deeds in the Sunshine State, which included her Group 1 Darrell Alexander victory. She will have a 10-day break after arriving home in Victoria, and will the target the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint on October 9. She also has options at the back end of the season with the Inter Dominion and Vicbred Super Series final among others.
He could well be better then ever this campaign, and TOUGH MONARCH will look towards the pinnacle of the sport, the Inter Dominion later this year. Enjoying a few extra days of Queensland Sunshine on his back, he will make his way through to ID21 with some lead up races down in Victoria likely in his build up.
HUMBLE LADD was a real find for the trotting ranks despite not snaring a big one in Queensland, but his ultra-promising performances at the top level proved he is going to be a force going forward. Returning to the stables of Alex Ashwood in Victoria, he will plot a path through the Country Cups scene before an Inter Dominion tilt.
MOMENTSLIKETHESE snared her maiden Group 1 victory in her tough Queensland Oaks win on night three of the carnival. She will have a short break followed up by a potentially busy end to the season with the Victorian Oaks, Breeders Crown and Vicbred Super Series all logical targets.
It was only a matter of inches that kept ROCKIN MARTY away from Constellations dominance after he came up agonisingly short in both the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake contests. In what was a brilliant introduction to the Grand Circuit, he will also have a freshen before a Victoria Cup tilt beckons. SEND IT continues to go from strength to strength, and with an Inter Dominion looking a tailor-made series for the little bulldog he will target the series in his back yard.
She may have been the surprise Group 1 victor of the carnival, but JERADAS DELIGHT backed up her Golden Girl win with a solid Blacks A Fake performance. It is looking likely, however, that the grand circuit performance will bring down the curtain on the mare's career, with the breeding barn calling.
The Kiwi connection during this year’s carnival certainly added a fantastic element, and those who took the leap of faith in such an uncertain climate reaped the rewards. Ray Green had a remarkable carnival, scooping the pool in many respects, however, of his four travel mates, just COPY THAT is returning to his North Island base. The stallion really furnished his all round game during his four-week campaign and will return to New Zealand for another tilt at the second Tuesday in November.
AMERICAN DEALER clocked victories on all three nights of the Albion Park main portion of the carnival, finalising things with a Queensland Derby victory. The pint-sized pocket rocket will be staying in Australia for the remainder of this season where the Victoria Derby final will be among his targets. Now having a quiet month in New South Wales, his training in that state will be undertaken by Kevin Pizzuto, whereas the man of the carnival, Nathan Purdon, will be in charge while in Victoria.
Speaking of N. Purdon, his marvellous mare AMAZING DREAM banked the majority slice of the prizemoney during the carnival with Rising Sun and Blacks A Fake blow outs at big prices. She heads back to her new Victorian base before the Victoria Cup will lead her towards the Inter Dominion.
Despite not striking in his main targets, KRUG didn’t lose any admirers during his maiden Queensland sojourn, and his trainer is already plotting revenge. Cran Dalgety declared on Saturday evening that he has “already booked the accommodation” for next year as he plans a redemption strategy in The Rising Sun. For now though, the colt will return to home base this Sunday, however, it is likely he will return to Australia later this year for the Victoria Derby or Breeders Crown, or maybe both.
The Cobbity Equine team had a carnival of ‘what ifs’ with many of their stars going down by narrow margins in the big contests. Despite coming to bother in the Blacks A Fake, the great news is that KING OF SWING has come through unscathed. EXPENSIVE EGO and SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS both performed well and will no doubt be nice additions to the free for all ranks over the next few seasons.
This weekend’s racing action features good quality contests at several venues across the country.
The highlight tonight at Gloucester Park will be the Four and Five-Year-Old Classic featuring the well-drawn and in form FIFTY FIVE REBORN searching for four straight wins as well as ALTA BLUES who drops back from free for all company when chasing home MIGHTY CONQUEROR last start. Race four will also be an intriguing contest with MINSTREL again coming off a big handicap of 40metres after his three super runs back from his Chariots Of Fire campaign.
Victorian metropolitan racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow (Saturday) evening with two group features. Despite there only being a field of nine engaged, the TAB Jane Ellen mares Group Three gives some up and coming mares a chance to cash in from good alleys. The Winter Trotters Cup is fantastic and features an ultra-strong group of trotters after three heats were conducted at Kilmore last week.
Despite some concerns with further restrictions imposed on the Campbelltown government area, Menangle racing proceeds tomorrow night also. The Winter Championship final looks to be dominated by the Jack Trainor stable, where he lines up the favourite MIGHTY FLYING ART from the outside gate and the better drawn second elect NEVER BEEN SAID.
If you are looking to have a dabble this weekend around the grounds:
Best Bet: R6 N8 Albion Park - Double Or Nothing
Value Bet: R5 N1 Albion Park – Vincenzina
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.