News & Events

Jewels markets re-open after Cambridge workouts

By Michael Guerin

A blistering workout win could prompt a change of tactics with Ideal Scott in the glamour race of the Harness Jewels. And if that secures him victory it will almost certainly earn him Three-year-old of the Year honours.

The Woodlands Derby and Sales Series winner is the $2.40 favourite to win his division of the $1.2million Jewels meeting at Cambridge on Saturday. Ideal Scott has drawn barrier two on his favourite track but does clash with five other Group One winners, including long-term division favourite Smolda.

Smolda lost that honour with a disappointing effort at Alexandra Park on Friday whereas Ideal Scott could hardly have been more impressive at the Cambridge workouts on Sunday. He led throughout over 2200m to easily down leading four-year-olds Gold Ace and Mustang Mach, with his last 800m of 54.4 seconds one of the fastest ever recorded in the North Island.

That left trainer Brian Hughes beaming and ready to ask driver Todd MacFarlane to push the button on Ideal Scott on Saturday.

In most of his major wins this season he has used his gate speed to lead the trail, a rare exception being when he had to come from the second line to win the Derby. But with the Jewels being just a mile, Hughes says Ideal Scott is good enough to lead and stay there.

“He is good enough to do that and while we haven’t talked about tactics I’d like to see him in front,” said Hughes.

“Its only a mile and Cambridge is a front runners track so I’d say that might be the plan.”

Hughes says he is not worried about super stayers Smolda and Texican being off the front line but not out of any disrespect for them.

“Sure, they are good horses but our fella has shown he is as good as any of them.”

The race shapes as the highlight of a Jewels meeting which will start with a $1.20 favourite in Bettor Cover Lover. She galloped and lost all chance in the A$100,000 Queen of the Pacific in Melbourne on Friday night but staged a huge recovery for ninth and she only needs to bring that form to Cambridge to justify being everybody’s multi-bet anchor.

Terror To Love at $1.90 is the only other pacer odds-on in the early final field markets, although Five Card Draw is very short at $2.20 to win the juvenile male pacer. That event contains perhaps the best value of the early markets in Border Control, who paced a national record beating older horses on Friday night and is unbelievably at $8, when his real odds are about $4.

The trotters markets saw significant moves after the draws and weekend results, with all three pre-draw favourites drifting as they will start off the second line.

Leading three-year-old Escapee (out from $1.50 to $2.80), who starts off the unruly, has lost her favouritism to Lotalov at $2.40 after the latter trotted a national age group record on Friday and Escapee galloped.

Thanesan is out from $1.70 on opening to $3 in the four-year-old trot, with a $7500 bet bringing Irish Whisper into $3.50.

And Habibti, who was the favourite for the juvenile trot is out to $4.20, even after a blazing workout at Cambridge.