My Field Marshal headlines monster Aussie weekend

By Adam Hamilton

FIRST it was the Miracle Mile and now comes the Group 1 Len Smith for former Kiwi pacer My Field Marshal.

Tim Butt’s stable star drew perfectly in gate one to give driver Anthony Butt all the options at Menangle on Sunday.

As far as a contest goes, having Australia’s top-rated pacer Soho Tribeca right next door in gate two makes the race even more intriguing.

Gun draws to the two big guns makes it very hard for the likes of: Majordan (10), Franco Nelson (11), Match In Heaven (nine), Cruz Bromac (seven), Gotta Go Ya Hu (six) and Mach Doro (three).

 But the Len Smith is only part of the stellar Menangle meeting Sunday.

 Here’s a snapshot of the rest of the Menangle card, plus the cracking meetings in Victoria at Melton on Friday and Kilmore Saturday night.

 SATURDAY NIGHT - MENANGLE SUPPORT CARD

 RACE FIVE – NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE 3YO COLTS/GELDINGS FINAL

 The buzz around Tassie three-year-old Ignatius is so big, he will command almost attention at the Len Smith itself.

 It’s hard to imagine a horse being more impressive winning his heat for any race than Ignatius was at Penrith in this series – and he toyed with Picard, who is again his main rival in this final.

 Ignatius cruised around to win his semi, has gate three for the final (Picard is out in 10) and should cruise to yet another win.

 RACE THREE – NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE 2YO COLTS/GELDINGS FINAL

 Ironically given the name of the race, it’s a pair of Victorian raiders who look set to fight it out in Hardhitter (gate five) and Lochinvar Art (three).

 Emma Stewart’s team is white hot at present and it would be a brave person to tip against her runner, Hardhitter, after he went super slick time winning the semi final and Chris Alford now takes the drive.

 RACE SEVEN – NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE 4YO ENTIRES/GELDINGS FINAL

 What a race of emerging stars, headed by Let it Ride (12), Atomic Red (11), Jilliby Bandit (10), San Domino (seven), Conviction (nine) and others.

 Let it Ride, runner-up in the Chariots Of Fire, produced arguably the run of his career to come from last and wide and snatch victory from San Domino in his semi.

 He’s the one to beat, but Atomic Red is so strong and class and the support crew has depth.

 SATURDAY NIGHT – KILMORE

 The wait is over with superstar pacer Hectorjayjay’s comeback run in the Popular Alm Sprint (race seven).

 It’s no “gimme” with Hectorjayjay drawn outside the back row (gate 11) against handy rivals like Moonrock (gate nine), Sams The Master (two), Magical Marn (five) and Young Modern (eight).

 But the way Hectorjayjay has trialled twice recently, especially at Melton last Tuesday week, he should blow them away for sheer speed over the 1690m trip.

 If he wins and looks awesome, will new trainer-driver Gavin Lang be tempted by a Queensland raid to try and defend the Blacks A Fake crown he won a year ago.

 FRIDAY NIGHT – MELTON

 The Emma Stewart show should roll on again with 12 races on this card, all of the semi-finals of the Vicbred pacing series’ for two, three and four-year-olds.

 Remembering Stewart last week won 16 of a possible 22 qualifying heats and that brigade now progress to semi-final stage.

 Key clashes include:

 

  • Race 2 – Can Australian Gold champ Soho Nolita bounce-back from a surprise heat defeat now she’s fitter and has gate five, but takes on Stewart’s stunning heat winner Kualoa (eight)?
  • Race 3 – Can NSW Derby winner Poster Boy regain winning form from a bad draw (gate nine) after being upset by untapped stablemate Ride High in his heat?
  • Race 6 - Will Ride High stretched his unbeaten record to five races from a horror gate 13 against classy rivals like: Major Times (one), Liftntorque (four) and Kasbah Kid (10)?
  • Race 7 – Hurricane Harley upset Australian Gold winning stablemate Centenario in their heat and is drawn to do it again. Hurricane Harley has gate five, Centenario 12 and Petes Big Jim is the other key runner from 10.
  • Race 8 – Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu missed a place second-up at Ballarat in his heat, but should return to winning form by leading throughout from gate three.
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