Harness Jewels - the Aussie raiders
By Adam Hamilton
CREATING a slice of history won’t be enough for this year’s Australian team of Harness Jewels raiders.
Such is the depth and sheer volume of horses crossing the Tasman, the bar must and should be set higher than just one win, which would be the first by an Aussie-trained raider.
Depending on final fields and crucial barrier draws, Aussie horses could be favourite to at least right near the top of betting in four, five, maybe even six Jewels’ races.
It’s an exciting scenario given just 12 Aussie-trained horses have contested Jewels finals since 2007. Divisive’s second to Monkey King back in 2007 remains the equal best result so by an Aussie, being matched by both Mr Mojito and One Muscle Hill at Ashburton last year.
Here is my early look at the seven Aussie invitees and how they stack-up.
THE AUSSIE RAIDERS
SHEZ ALL ROCK: She’s a special filly. Has blasted her way to stardom winning the heat and final of the NSW Oaks and heat and final of the Victoria Oaks. First filly since Jane Ellen in 1988 to win NSW/Victoria Oaks double. I’m sure she’s at least as good as Elle Mac and we get to line them up in the NZ Oaks this week.
WOBELEE: Such a talented yet fascinating horse. Oozes talent, but far from the complete package. Great to see him blow them away in the NSW Trotters’ Derby last time, but not ideal him having a gallop at the start. Certainly respect Winterfell and to a lesser extent Majestic Man. If the right Wobelee turns up and does it all right, then look out!
CARLAS PIXEL: Keen to see how she goes against Australia’s best mares in the Group 1 Queen of the Pacific at Melton this weekend. Beat a hot field winning the Group 1 Ladyship Mile back in February and two runs since have been excellent without winning. I think she’s got NZ’s contenders like Bonnie Joan, Utmost Delight and Seaswift Joy covered at her top.
PLATINUM REVEOLUTION: Real “pro” of a filly with a dash class – just what you’d expect from Shane and Lauren Tritton. She’s no star, but has shown enough in her best runs to say she can be competitive. Whether she can beat the best “All Stars” locals like Princess Tiffany and Kayla Marie is the big question. Rough chance.
CUSTODIAN: Great to see him returning to where he won the 2YO Jewels final when part of the All Stars barn. Nursed back from injury with a campaign specifically aimed at this by Nathan Jack. Sure to be primed, but will need the right draw and luck to beat the leading locals like Enghien, Habibti Inta and Musculus. Rough chance.
PETES BIG JIM: Great to see connections riding the wave of a fairytale invite. Best pointer is second to College Chapel – who ranks in Australia’s top 2/3 juveniles – in a 1min52.6sec Menangle Mile on February 24. You’d also expect improvement with the recent switch to Shane/Lauren Tritton barn. Still hard to seeing causing ripples against big guns like Jesse Duke and Another Masterpiece.
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