Day At The Track

Bettors Fire ready to rumble

03:43 PM 17 May 2018 NZST
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Bettors Fire, harness racing
Bettors Fire
Gloucester Park Photo

“He’s working in terrific style at home and should be ready to rumble on Friday night and so it’s onwards and upwards,” declared harness racing trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper when assessing the prospects of veteran pacer Bettors Fire in the Alltools Online Store Pace at Gloucester Park.

However, Harper declined to declare Bettors Fire a “good thing” in the seven-horse field in the 2130m event.

Bettors Fire, an M20-class pacer with a record of 96 starts for 36 wins and 21 placings for earnings of $737,619, will start from the outside barrier, with M4-class mares Sheer Rocknroll (barrier one) and Maczaffair (two) gaining preferential treatment as the only mares in the race.

 “It’s a tricky race,” Harper said. “Obviously, Bettors Fire is the class runner, but that doesn’t mean anything from a bad draw. I’ll leave all options open. Seven is a draw from which to fly the gate. But we probably don’t need to. We’ll weigh up our options and see what the early speed is like.

“I’m happy with the horse who seems to thrive this time of the year. You could probably go two ways fire him off the arm and he’d be hard to beat. Or you could sit him up and if there’s any pace in the race he should prove hard to beat.

“Sheer Rocknroll is a very good frontrunner and so, too, is Maczaffair. Vultan Tin probably won’t be able to cross Maczaffair, while Shandale has had a couple of starts back and should be pretty close to his best form. He’s hard to run down when he gets the advantage on you.

“And The Bucket List is a very classy horse. All seven runners should be close enough to fight out the finish.”

Whatever the outcome of Friday night’s race, Bettors Fire is certain to have a tougher time than he did last Friday week when he ambled to the front from barrier two and dawdled over the first two quarters of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 29.9sec. before sprinting over the final sections in 28.1sec. and 27.4sec. He held on to defeat Our Jimmy Johnstone by just over a half-length, with Shandale finishing solidly into third place. 

Leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko declared that Maczaffair would go out hard in a bid to lead. “She loves to lead and we plan to roll along,” he said.

Maczaffair won the Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes over 2130m last Friday night when she started from the No. 3 barrier and got to the front after 300m. The lead time was a fast 35.7sec. before Maczaffair relaxed and ran the opening two quarters of the final mile in 30sec. and 30.6sec. She increased the tempo with final quarters in 28.9sec. and 27.8sec. when she fought on grimly to beat Eden Franco by a half-head.

Shandale and The Bucket List warmed up in style for this week’s event when they finished with powerful bursts to dead-heat for second behind Our Jimmy Johnstone over 2130m. Shandale surged home from fifth at the bell and The Bucket List rattled home from eighth with a lap to travel.

Ken Casellas

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