Between a rock and a hard place

By Michael Guerin

Steven Reid finds himself between a rock and a hard place on the best horse racing at Alexandra Park tonight.

But that doesn’t mean punters still shouldn’t back Star Galleria in the race of the night, race seven.

Tonight Alexandra Park hosts it’s only all-mile race meeting, which is ideal for horses like Star Galleria, who is one of the favourites for the Harness Jewels at Cambridge on Saturday week.

 Having beaten some of the elite horses in the country and finished fourth in the Auckland Cup, the best version of Star Galleria would be good enough to overcome barrier eight, even though the Alexandra Park mile start point is less than ideal.

 But Reid, like most of the trainers heading to the Jewels, would prefer an easy run rather than anything that will give his charge a headache eights day out from a $150,000 race.

 To make matters worse, with regular driver Tony Herlihy sidelined with broken ribs Reid will do the driving himself, meaning he will have to make the crucial decisions.

 “Obviously I want to win and still think he will but I am not really sure what to do from barrier eight,” admits Reid.

 “If I go out hard and everybody inside him does too then he could have a really hard run, which is hardly ideal.

 “But if you go back to last and nobody moves then he might end up in a position he can’t win from.

 “So I think I have to have a couple of plans. Maybe the first one is let him roll off the gate and see what happens inside him, looking to get handy.

 “Or drop back to last and then just take off at the 800m and get handy because he should be good enough to win if he only has to sit three wide the last 800m.”

That could make for a nervous watch for punters who take the short odds but Reid is so happy with how his four-year-old trialed last weekend it may not matter. It just means $2 should be your line in the sand for punting.

 Reid has his other Jewels-bound four-year-old in the same race, with high class mare Utmost Delight drawn one on the second line.

 “She is very well too and worked brilliantly on Wednesday morning,” he says.

“So she can win but probably only if Opoutama holds the lead from the ace draw and I don’t think that will probably happen.”

 On a night where punters should be cautious about backing any Jewels runner who could get a hard run, Reid has some depth to his five starters.

 “I think Double O Heaven can win race five if she lobs the trail while punters should forgive Bubble Gum (race two) his last start, he will definitely improve as he all but choked down in that race.

 “And Puma Road is working well enough to go close in race three so they all have realistic chances.”

 It is a former Jewels winner who looks the bet of the night, bad barrier and all, with One Over Da Moon (race eight) a standout on sheer class and his exceptional record in Alexandra Park sprint races.

 ** The all-important barrier draws for the Harness Jewels will be out at noon today.


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