Hunter Cup night - punting preview
THE time-honoured Hunter Cup headlines Victoria’s biggest harness meeting at Melton’s Tabcorp Park tonight
Our Aussie correspondent ADAM HAMILTON takes a look at the key races:
RACE 8 – HUNTER CUP
This race hinges on whether first emergency KING OF SWING (3) gets a run. If he does, I think he’ll work to the front and be the horse to beat. Always been lethal in front and most impressive winning in a 1min48.8sec mile at Menangle last week. Quick out, huge chance of leading if he gets a run. If not, stablemate ALTA ORLANDO (1) looks hardest to beat. He’s the early leader, but may sit on KING OF SWING (3) if he gets in. Otherwise, ALTA ORLANDO may lead or sit on another key rival. Either way, he’s flying, will relish the trip and looks a huge player. The Craig Cross influence runs deep with past winner BLING IN ON (10) also right in the mix, if the race is run truly. CHASE AUCKLAND (4) is flying, but will need the right trip win over 2760m at this level. Can win, but seems short odds. MACH SHARD (2) was fantastic winning a weaker race last week. Ripper draw with his early speed, another suited by the trip. AG’S WHITE SOCKS (11) dictated in front and Ballarat and won well. He’s certainly good with a sit, but this draw won’t be easy to overcome. LOCHINVAR ART (7) was monstrous last week, but gee this draw hurts. Will need a lot to go right. CODE BAILEY (9) and OUR UNCLE SAM (8) could win an open race without reallt surprising.
SUGGESTED BET: King Of Swing to win (3) at $5 or better if he gets a run. Otherwise ALTA ORLANDO (1) each-way at $6 or better.
RACE 6 – GREAT SOUTHERN STAR
One of the best and strongest trotting races we’ve seen for a long time. It’s so tricky to get a handle on. Logic says TORNADO VALLEY (3) is the one to beat, given he’s unbeaten when leading across 17 races since coming to Andy Gath’s stable. But … even Gath concedes this is “by far” the hardest field he’s met. Still have to tip him as he’ll lead again. OSCAR BONAVENA (4) oozes speed and talent. Yes, he was below his best last week, but Mark Purdon insists he’ll bounce back. Probably needs a sit to utilise his lethal speed. So he’ll need some luck at the right times. MAJESTIC MAN (10) is out to huge odds. Having a superb season and also has that sharp speed. TEMPORALE (12) smashed the clock winning last week and has a superb Melton record. MCLOVIN (11) could be the big improver at huge odds. DANCE CRAZE (8) and MASSIVE METRO (2) are also good enough with the right runs.
SUGGESTED BET: Happy to have something small each-way at big odds on Majestic Man (10) around $18 and McLovin (11) at $21 or better.
RACE 4 – LADYSHIP CUP
It’ll be a huge surprise if BELLE OF MONTANA (1) doesn’t lead and win. But, she could be tested for the front early and looks sure to have her only real danger, BETTER ENFORCE (8) camped right on her back. Still, she’s all class and packs so much speed, it’s hard to imagine anything “out-pinging” her off her back. BETTER ENFORCE (8) has been a revelation and boasts some blistering winning times at Menangle. Only threat. HOWS THE MEMORY (4) has been a big improver and looks next best from PICK UP LINE (9) and SOHO NOLITA (7). GOODTIME HEAVEN (10) is the only other place hope.
SUGGESTED BET: Straight trifecta for interest: Belle On Montana (1) from Better Enforce (8) and Hows The Memory (4).
RACE 7 – PURE STEEL
While THEFIXER (11) has the class, there’s certainly a query just where he’s at right now. Stable opted to skip the Hunter Cup for this easier assignment. Not much went right last week in a stronger field and he wasn’t far away. Should strip fitter. Has to be top pick in this grade. BRIGHT ENERGY (2) has been a revelation and draws to find the lead. It’s a big step-up to beat a horse like THEFIXER (11), but leading around Melton in the form he’s in is a big help. SICARIO (1) will likely sit behind the leader, which gives him a chance.
SUGGESTED BET: Thefixer (11) drifted a lot last week, If he drifts again to say $2.20 or better, he’s your win bet in the race.
BEST BET: R3 n8 Fake Smile at $2.40 or better
BEST VALUE: R8 n3 King Of Swing (if he gets a run) at $5 or better
BEST ROUGHIE: R6 n10 Majestic Man at $16 or better each-way