Jewels draws leave huge questions
By Michael Guerin
The draws for the Harness Jewels left a couple of huge questions hanging over perhaps the race of the day.
Because while punters will only see two winning chances in the glamour three-year-old Diamond it could become one of the great tactical battles of the day.
And those keen for a bet will be trying to work out whether Belle Of Montana will stay in front of arch-rival Princess Tiffany, and if she doesn’t, whether she has too much raw speed for her?
That will be two of the key questions of Jewels week as the build-up to next Saturday’s exceptional meeting at Addington went into overdrive with Friday’s draws.
The draws, as expected, settled favouritism for many of the nine group ones, with horses like Sundees Son (four-year-old trot); One Change (two-year-old male pace) and Sweet On Me (juvenile fillies pace) gaining what could be telling advantages over the other favourites in their divisions.
Others to have their favouritism confirmed include Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up, who secured barrier three in the four-year-old male pace and Jesse Duke, who will now start red hot after drawing best of the big names in the three-year-old male pace.
But there are still some puzzles among the nine races, especially in the three-year-old trot where Enhance Your Calm has drawn the second line with plenty of quality between him and the winner’s circle.
And the two-year-old trot looks the most open race of the day, with favourite Tailored Elegance also drawing the second line whereas all the other favourites have drawn well.
The clash of Oaks winners Belle Of Montana (ace) and Princess Tiffany (five) could end up being the most hype of the day though as not only are they racing for group one glory but maybe even the Filly of the Year title.
Having drawn barrier one Belle Of Montana could be expected to try for an all the way win and she may well but she has never been asked to lead and stay in front in her career, her powerful sprint being her sharpest weapon.
Equally, Princess Tiffany is an exceptional stayer and if she leads then Belle Of Montana would get the passing lane shot at her.
So the crucial questions are whether Belle Of Montana’s connections want to try something new and stay in front or, if they do stuck to her modus operandi, whether she can outkick Princess Tiffany?
Trainer Barry Purdon will tell you that decision will ultimately lie with driver Zac Butcher and Butcher will probably say that will depend on how the filly feels and how much pressure is applied.
They will get plenty of opportunities to answer those queries this week and to be honest probably won’t know until the mobile barrier reaches the 1980m starting point.
Several Jewels runners will trial at Addington on Saturday, among the most important being Sundees Son and stablemate One Majic Kenny.