Ride High skips the clash

By Adam Hamilton

FANS will have to wait at least another week for the first clash of glamour Aussie pacers Ride High and Lochinvar Art.

In a surprise late twist, Ride High was nominated, but then pulled-out of Saturday night’s $30,000 Minuteman free-for-all (2240m) at Melton.

Connections have remained tight-lipped on the circumstances, but it is now expected Ride High will run in Saturday week’s $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at Melton to sharpen-up for the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup a week later.

This week’s race is still a pearler with Lochinvar Art (gate 11) meeting reigning NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac (10) and Australasian 2300m record-holder Zennart (seven).

Lochinvar Art has been crunched from $1.80 into $1.60 favourite in the Aussie TAB’s early market, ahead of Zennart ($4.80 to $4.60) and Cruz Bromac ($4.60 to $5).

“He’s come through last week’s run really well and it’s definitely brought him on for sure,” Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said.

Cruz Bromac, first-up since his fifth in the Auckland Cup last New Year’s Eve, has been sharpened-up for his return with two recent trial wins.

X X X

THE excitement around this season’s Aussie juvenile crop gained more momentum with Bar Room Banta’s blistering Menangle win yesterday (Tuesday).

The powerfully looking son of A Rocknroll Dance sped to the front for Luke McCarthy from gate seven, cruised through a 57.8sec first half, then scorched home in 54 flat and 26.6sec.

Bar Room Banta’s 1min51.8sec mile, at just his third start, was just a half-second outside the Australasian record of 1min51.3sec set by Ignatius back on June 25, 2017.

Bar Room Banta is trained by Mick Stanley in Victoria, but loan to Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy to target the NSW Breeders Challenge.

The same combination brilliantly won a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge for two-year-old fillies with Soho Almasi a week earlier.

Bar Room Banta and Soho Almasi are nominal favourites to win their finals.

“I’ve got a fantastic crop of babies this season and these are the pick of them,” Stanley said. “Almasi is the fastest and potentially best filly I’ve had, while ‘Banta’ is something else … he’s just so fast and exciting.”

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