Draws the key
By Michael Guerin
Days out from the most important set of barriers of the harness racing season connections could be excused for being nervous.
After all, the mega meeting at Cambridge on Sunday week is the last chance for a group one for the season for most and while the Waikato track isn’t purely a leader-only 1000m circuit, if any of the favourites lead they will be expected to win.
So with the TAB markets open pre-draw here is a look at which five favourites the draws matter most for.
1: Bolt For Brilliance and Muscle Mountain (Garrard's Horse & Hound 4YO Ruby): Not the only two in the market but both proven open class trotters with gate speed. Whichever one draws better will start favourite and if one draws the second line the other could dominate market.
2: Copy That (Civtec 4YO Emerald): Clearly the best horse in his race if he draws to lead he looks unbeatable as he has already beaten Self Assured here over a flying mile.
BUT, if he draws wide or second line the dynamic of the race changes as he hasn’t been as potent coming from off the markers and a lot of hard-running rivals who wouldn’t hand up to him, like Bad To The Bone, South Coast Arden and Pembrook Playboy have emerged. Could start $1.40 or $3.
3: Krug (IRT 3YO Emerald): Again is clearly the best in his division but has yet to suggest he can sit parked and win for fun as all his major wins have come when leading or trailing.
There are enough rivals who will be keen to park him if they can hold the lead and he becomes vulnerable from the second line. But if he draws to lead and run will be everybody’s multi maker.
4: True Fantasy (Hardwood Breeding Syndicate 2YO Diamond): Our best juvenile filly but hasn’t yet proved she can sit parked and simply beat them, whereas some of the other favourites in their divisions (Amazing Dream, Akuta) have.
After all, she tried it last start and got beaten.
She will start favourite regardless of where she draws but she has yet to brain her rivals in a race so around Cambridge could be vulnerable to tempo if she cops a second line draw, which she is a 33 per cent chance of doing.
5: Five Wise Men (Mitre 10 3YO Ruby): Hasn’t had many good draws to use his gate speed and driver John Dunn is adamant it is there.
As good as he has been he still looks to be strengthening and again doesn’t look a horse who would sit parked and win for fun.
Also in a division with plenty of freegoers like Mexicana, Time Up The Hill and Leaf Stride whose drivers might be keen to chance their arm in front if they can hold him at the start.
The barrier draws for the IRT Harness Jewels will be made soon after final withdrawals at noon on Friday