Dalgety feeling the "joy" ahead of Breeders Crown
By Adam Hamilton
Gone are the days when the Kiwis came to Victoria in force to snatch Breeders Crown glory.
A change in qualifying conditions and a move to later in the year has taken much of the attraction away from the once great series for New Zealand owners and trainers.
But Cran Dalgety, who was once one of those marauding Kiwi trainers, will fly the New Zealand flag at Melton on Saturday night.
Dalgety has won five Breeders Crown finals as a trainer, the latest with Katy Perry as a two-year-old filly in 2014.
This time he will be trackside cheering as a part-owner of his Group 1-winning filly Joyful in the $150,000 three-year-old pacing fillies’ final. It's due to go at 11.45pm NZT on Saturday night.
Dalgety leases Joyful from Alabar Farms with friend and leading Western Australian harness racing administrator Cam Brown.
“You know I’ve never actually seen this filly in the flesh,” Dalgety said. “I think it’s time I did.
“She’s done such a wonderful job for us and never seems to have much luck with barrier draw … this time she has.”
Joyful is drawn beautifully in gate four and has been backed from $3 into $2.20 to upstage stablemate and superstar filly Major Delight, who has gate six. They will both move in one spot if emergency On The Hunt doesn’t get a run from gate three.
Dalgety said a chat with Alabar Farm’s Brett Coffey led to leasing Joyful.
“She would’ve gone through the sales, but had a bout of colic and a wee operation,” he said.
“How I came on the radar is that she’s out of a mare called Joyfuljoy, who is a half-sister to a lovely filly I had called Better Joy.”
Better Joy won a Breeders Crown semi-final and ran fourth in her final.
“This filly didn’t show anything special early and we were about to give her back to Alabar to breed from,” Dalgety said.
“Brett (Coffey) said they’d probably give her Emma (Stewart) and Clayton (Tonkin) to have a go with and Cam and I thought we might as well stay in and try that.
“She won her first six starts for them, including the Group 1 Vicbred final.”
The other Kiwi interest in the Breeders Crown will be exciting young Queensland trotter Not As Promised in the $75,000 Group 3YO Trotting colts and geldings final.
He dominates betting from gate four and trainer Graham Dwyer has sights set on the Group 1 NZ Trotting Derby (December 10) if Not As Promised comes through this week as well as he expects.
The other key Crown finals from a quality point of view are the two-year-old pacing fillies’ and two-year-old pacing colts and geldings.
Stewart and Tonkin won six of 10 races on Crown finals night last year and have the talent to go close to that again on Saturday night.
The clash between their unbeaten two-year-old fillies Very Pretty (four wins, gate two) and Draw A Dream (six wins, gate three) will be epic.
And they have six of the 12 finalists in the $250,000 2YO colts and geldings where Timmy Rictor (gate five), Stormryder (two) and Kingman (six) are their big guns.
Former Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor could be their biggest danger. He drives the emerging Nathan Street, who has the pole for trainer Freddy Taiba.