A nervous week for Jewels hopefuls
By Michael Guerin
A couple of one-time favourites for the Harness Jewels face a nervous week to even make it to the mega meeting.
Because the Jewels campaigns of stablemates Smooth Deal and Oscar Bonavena hang in the balance for very different reasons.
Oscar Bonavena rocketed to favouritism for the three-year-old trot division with a comeback win at Addington two weeks ago but after three rivals passed him on the stakes-based leader board he is now ranked 14th to make the field of 12.
So his connections have to hope for one withdrawal before the fields are drawn on Friday to even be the emergency for the $125,000 trot at Addington on June 1.
Get Lucky was the last horse to usurp Oscar Bonavena with his effortless win in the last race at Oamaru yesterday, the last day for Jewels qualifying.
Connections of horses have until Friday to withdraw and the fields of 12 plus one emergency will be drawn at noon.
Oscar Bonavena’s late fall down the ranking has seen him drift from $1.90 to win his division a few days ago to $2.80 last night.
Stablemate Smooth Deal’s fall has been even more dramatic as he was the $1.40 favourite to win his division a few weeks ago but has since been beaten twice, including a battling sixth at Addington on Friday night.
But he was bouncing around his paddock on Saturday morning, which was enough to deter trainer Mark Purdon from scratching him from the Jewels.
“He came home, ate up and has been fine since so maybe it was just one of those nights,” said Purdon.
“We really don’t know but we will get him vetted and then decide. But at this stage, unless the vet examination and blood tests show something is wrong with him, he will still be aimed at the Jewels.” Smooth Deal is likely to trial at Addington on Saturday along with many of the Purdon-Rasmussen stars including Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up.