Biggest test so far for South Coast Arden
By Adam Hamilton
Former star Kiwi pacer South Coast Arden gets his first crack at a serious Aussie race in Saturday night’s $150,000 Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle.
And what a support race it will be to the $2.1mil TAB Eureka.
Despite South Coast Arden’s impressive start to his Aussie career with Paul Fitzpatrick, he is a $12 shot from gate three in a very strong Len Smith field. He has firmed from $15 since markets first opened on Tuesday.
South Coast Arden has won six of eight NSW starts and already paced a 1min49.1sec mile, but all indications are they will go even quicker given the speed and depth in this field.
High-class former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of St Louis, a dual Miracle Mile runner-up, is an easing $2.60 out to $3.10 favourite after drawing ideally in gate one.
He returned from a break with a solid but not stunning Menangle 2300m win last Saturday night. It will be interesting to see Jack Callaghan’s driving tactics from the pole with so much speed drawn outside him.
One of those slick beginners is dual Newcastle Mile winner and renowned speedster Mach Dan, who is drawn alongside Spirit Of St Louis in gate two. He is a $3.60 shot.
He is one of two runners in the race for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. The other is Hurricane Harley, but he is an $18 shot from out in gate 10.
Victoria has a very strong hand in the feature with four of the 10 runners.
Much interest centres around last year’s Victoria Cup winner Rock N Roll Doo, who returned from a spell with a monstrous placing behind Encipher in a very strong Westburn Grant free-for-all at Melton last Saturday week.
Rock N Roll Doo smashed the clock late and made a three-wide run home without cover. He’s already won the Group 1 Paleface Adios over a mile at Menangle.
Then there is dual Group 1 winner Better Eclipse, who should be primed after two runs from a spell.
The Jess Tubbs-trained star has won a Chariots Of Fire and been placed in a Miracle Mile over 1609m at Menangle.
Another recent Kiwi import in the race is the now Queensland-based Hot And Treacherous, who raced superbly through the winter, but will need luck from gate seven in such a strong field.
X X X
Brilliant Kiwi-owned trotting mare Queen Elida kick-starts a campaign aimed at the Queensland Inter Dominion when she returns from a break at Melton on Saturday night.
Brent Lilley’s stable star has gate three in the $50,000 Group 2 Australasian Trotting Championship.
It’s a strong race with Kiwi-bred Ollivici fitter for two runs from a spell and drawn to be the main danger from the pole.
Then there is another Kiwi-bred, Mufasa Metro, out in gate six.
It’s a serious race which should prove a key pointer to other upcoming major races, including next month’s Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint at Melton on October 14.
Queen Elida is a $1.30 favourite from Ollivici ($4.20 into $3.20) and Musafa Metro ($10).
X X X
Talented Kiwi pacer Kango adds plenty of interest to Saturday night’s Melton meeting.
Trainer Arna Donnelly has found a suitable free-for-all which isn’t overly strong to launch the six-year-old’s Victorian raid.
It’s Kango’s first run for just over three months and he will have to overcome a wide back row draw (gate 12) in the 2240m race.
Hardest to beat will be the emerging District Attorney (gate 11, $5) and talented mare Tay Tay (nine, $6.50).
X X X
Champion trainer Gary Hall Sr brings two of his major WA Pacing Cup hopefuls back at Gloucester Park tomorrow night.
Diego and Jumpingjackmac both returns from spells in the 2130m free-for-all, but stablemate Prince Of Pleasure is a commanding $1.35 favourite and expected to lead from the pole. He has race fitness on his side.
Hall Sr’s exciting Kiwi import Your So Fine is a clear $1.75 favourite to win the Gloucester Park feature, the $50,000 Binshaw (2130m).
While the other highlight is the return of WA’s superstar youngster Never Ending.
The Justin Prentice-trained star will be driven by Gary Hall Jr in his quest to make it 10 wins from as many starts in the last race of the night.