Aussie showdown scrapped
by Adam Hamilton
Fans will have to wait longer for the first clash between Aussie pacing megastars Ride High and Lochinvar Art.
While connections of both were committed to racing against each other at Ballarat on Saturday night, they scared-off other rivals.
Harness Racing Victoria had said it would not run the race unless it attracted at least five but preferably six runners.
Nominations were extended from late yesterday until today (Tuesday), but HRV said it still didn’t get sufficient acceptors.
It’s a huge blow given the broad anticipation and massive PR opportunity it promised the sport.
And, going ahead, it creates a huge dilemma because it is unlikely many other rivals would to tackle both Ride High and Lochinvar Art when they next nominate for the same race.
Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran now has a major problem.
“Looks like it’ll be a month between runs for him now,” he said.
“He’s not eligible for a race at Shepparton next weekend and the week after it’s Terang, which is on the other side of the state from my stables and I’m not taking him all that way for a $20,000 race.
“It’s surprising they wouldn’t run the race this week with just three or four horses because they talked so much about wanting a match race with just the two of us.
“And I’ve been in small fields with others horses of mine in Victoria in the past.”
Ride High will also have to go a month between runs with Terang on September 12 his next racing option.
His last run was his 15th win from just 16 starts at Shepparton on August 15,
Adding to the frustrations for connections of Ride High and Lochinvar Art is the ongoing, COVID-19 driven uncertainty around whether the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup will go ahead as planned at Melton on October 10.
Victoria’s Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions aren’t due to end until, at the earliest, September 13.
HRV has said it wants to stick with October 10 for the Victoria Cup, but wouldn’t be in a position to give a genuine update until mid-September.
And HRV’s GM of Racing, Stephen Bell, has said they would not go ahead on October 10 unless key interstate horses, trainers and drivers were able to get to Victoria for the race.