Lochinvar Art set to star on New Year's Eve
Auckland’s stellar Cup meeting isn’t the only harness highlight of New Year’s Eve.
For the first time, Melton will host the 12 Group 1 Vicbred finals for pacers and trotters tonight.
And headlining the Melton show is Australia’s best pacer Lochinvar Art in his quest for yet another Group 1 win to join his Victoria Cup, Chariots Of Fire and 4YO Bonanza titles this season.
Trainer-driver David Moran is oozing with confidence despite drawing the pole, which has twice been his downfall in feature races in the past.
“Will he lead? I can’t say that for sure because Hurricane Harley is so fast out and he’ll get a good run at it from out in (gate) six,” Moran said. “I’d love to lead, but sitting behind Hurricane Harley isn’t the worst spot. I still think I’d beat him that way.
“You shouldn’t be too confidence, but I am going into this one. He went terrific winning his semi-final and I know how much he’s improved since then.”
Beyond the feature, Moran said Lochinvar Art would head to the Shepparton Cup on January 16 ahead of the Ballarat Cup (January 23) and Hunter Cup (February 6).
“He’ll have a couple of quiet days after this, but Shepparton is the next target. He’ll go there unless I think he’s not quite ready and then it’d would straight o Ballarat instead,” Moran said.
Moran is more anxious about his other glamour drive on tonight’s card, unbeaten juvenile pacing filly Ladies In Red.
Many say she’s the best Aussie two-year-old filly since the mighty Lombo La Fe Fe 19 years ago.
Ladies In Red is chasing a perfect 10 wins from as many starts tonight, but has an awkward inside back row draw (gate eight) to contend with and the fact her main rival, Tough Tilly, looks an easy leader from gate two.
“I know she’s beaten Tough Tilly every time so far, but this is her hardest test on paper I think,” Moran said.
“In the Breeders Crown final, Tough Tilly had to run a fast lead to time to find the front and then I was able to control the race from outside her, but this time she looks like she’ll get a really soft lead.
“Tough Tilly will get her chance this time, but I’m banking the X-factor of Ladies In Red. Every time she’s been asked to a bit more, she’s found a way. She’ll have to do it again this time.
“I guess I’m saying we really don’t know her limit yet, but this will tell us more.
“I’d still rather be driving her than anything else in the race.”