Bolt For Brilliance - "he's pretty close"
By Adam Hamilton
Tony Herlihy isn’t about to make any excuses for Bolt For Brilliance in this Inter Dominion.
Sure, we all know the challenges Herlihy has faced just getting his stable star to Victoria in recent weeks, but that’s history.
“I’m looking forward now,” Herlihy said. “What happened is in the past. If there was even one small thing that worried me, I wouldn’t have brought him across.”
Asked how close Bolt For Brilliance is to his top heading into the series, Herlihy sounded bullish.
“He’s pretty close. He didn’t miss much work and we got plenty into him at home before coming across this week,” he said.
Bolt For Brilliance arrived in Melbourne yesterday (Wednesday) and is being stabled with Sammy Kilgour and Josh Dickie in Melton.
“He seems really well. He’s ready to go on Saturday,” Herlihy said.
But it’s a tricky assignment to open the series with star local Majestuoso drawn the pole and looking the leader, while Bolt For Brilliance is next door in barrier two.
“We’ve got a good draw, he (Majestuoso) has an even better one,” Herlihy laughed.
“No, we can’t complain. It’s a good draw and I’m expecting him to start the series off well.”
Bolt For Brilliance is an easing favourite ($1.65 to $1.90) while Majestuoso has been backed from $2.30 into $2.
Rival driver Greg Sugars admits he will be watching Bolt For Brilliance with great interest on Saturday.
“He’s clearly the one to beat in the series if he brings his best form and Tony wouldn’t have come if he didn’t think he had him right,” he said.
Sugars and wife, Jess Tubbs, have three favourites across the six heats on night one.
They include trotters Just Believe in heat one and former Kiwi One Over All in heat three.
“We can’t complain with the draws to kick things off,” Sugars said. “Even Better Eclipse drew the pole in his (pacing) heat,” Sugars said.
“Even though Just Believe has drawn wide (gate six) in his heat, he’ll work forward and I think he’s a big chance of getting the front. Even if he’s got to sit parked, I think we can control the race from there.
“Queen Elida is the obvious danger with her fantastic speed, but the draw gives us an advantage.
“One Over All’s chances depend on himself and what mood he’s in. He’s got a bit of a mind of his own.
“He’s drawn well (three) in the weakest of the three trotting heats, so he’ll be very hard to beat if he’s on his best behavior.”
Just Believe is $2.15 favourite in heat one, while One Over All has been backed from $2.20 into $1.80 in his heat.
Better Eclipse, already a winner of the Chariots Of Fire and Sunshine Sprint at Group 1 level this season, is a $2.15 favourite from the pole in the third of Saturday night’s pacing heats.
“He’ll get out well and he did hold them out in the Victoria Cup until I handed up. I’m just note sure he’ll be able to hold out a really fast beginner like Boncel Benjamin from out wide,” Sugars said.
Importantly, Ballarat doesn’t usually have a sprint lane, but a temporary one has been installed for Saturday night’s racing at the request of Harness Racing Victoria.
All Saturday night’s heats are 2200m.
The series then moves to Shepparton for the sprint heats over 1690m next Tuesday night.