Ride High in limbo

By Adam Hamilton

IS pacing sensation Ride High alright and will he tackle the Victoria Cup?

Those are Aussie harness racing’s burning questions after Ride High’s shock defeat – just his second loss in 18 starts – as a $1.10 favourite in Saturday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at Tabcorp Park Melton.

The pacing powerhouse went from cruising to the lead at the 400m to beaten 150m later and wilted to finish almost 13m from $126 upset winner Rishi.

Victoria Cup betting remains suspended until Ride High’s status is clearer given he was a $2 prepost favourite before last night.

Whether he tackles the Victoria Cup hinges on extensive veterinary tests, while Victoria Cup nominations close at noon (Melbourne time) today (Monday).

Driver Kate Gath seemed dumfounded straight after the race: “He felt terrific in the run, but started to struggle at the top of the straight when he hit the lead.”

Harness Racing Victoria stewards ordered an immediate post-race veterinary inspection, but reported “no significant findings.”

HRV’s integrity chief Brent Fisher added: “We spoke to Emma Stewart (co-trainer) who stated it was three weeks since (Ride High) last raced and his work during the week was nothing different to usual.

“(Stewart expressed) some concerns something isn’t right so will be getting a full vet check in the next few days.”

Ride High had a throat operation late last year after it was found he had only “about 50 per cent breathing capacity.”

He returned to win six races in effortless style and blistering times this campaign.

The final field and barrier draw for the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup are released at 9.30am Melbourne time tomorrow (Tuesday).

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