More Aussie Jewels Contenders Emerge

By Adam Hamilton

AUSTRALIA’S raid on the Harness Jewels looks stronger if not more confusing after the weekend.

Much-improved mare Major Occasion must surely have gone close to securing her invite to the 4YO mares’ after a powerhouse 1min51.6sec Menangle mile win after sitting parked throughout.

It came after she ran such a brave second to Kiwi champ Our Dream About Me in the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle six weeks ago.

Such has been Major Occasion’s improvement, she deserves the tag as Australia’s best mare.

She is a stablemate of Our Uncle Sam, who excelled through the Inter Dominion and ran second in the final to Tiger Tara.

Also at Menangle, Tim Butt’s untapped four-year-old trotting mare Sassy Pants easily won the Group 3 4YO Foundation Trotters’ Series final in a 1min59.3sec mile rate for 2300m.

She’s won three of four this campaign, but has her work cut-out nudging the brilliant Victorian mare Amore De Frere out of the Aussie invite in the 4YO Jewels’ trot.

Amore De Frere used her stunning gate speed to lead easily from gate five and blazed a 1min57.2sec mile rate for 1720m to win by 8.2m at Melton last night.

The daughter of Love You has won nine of her 20 starts (including five of nine this season). Trainer Anton Golino has expressed strong interest in the Jewels, likening Amore De Frere’s speed to Dance Craze, who was unlucky not win at the Jewels last year.

Hopes are high Emma Stewart will take her gifted three-year-old trotter Alpha Male to the Jewels and attraction grew when star local Enhance Your Calm was beaten for the first time and seemingly disappointing at Addington last Friday.

Stewart unleashed Courage Under Fire two-year-old pacing colt Pandering to win by 35.5m at Ballarat last Friday and he has also been toured as a Jewels possible.

Aussie interest in the Jewels has never been stronger and the next couple of weeks will define just how many of the key contenders snare invites, accept them and head to Addington for June 1.

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