Day At The Track

Hurricane Harley crushes track record

07:00 AM 10 Aug 2019 NZST
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Hurricane Harley,Harness racing
Trots Media

Great depth in the three-year-old grade has the TAB Breeders Crown building to what’s certain to be a spectacular crescendo, but for now this is the story of the Hurricane.

Tonight’s IRT three-year-old colts and geldings’ heats spotlight was stolen by Emma Stewart’s extraordinarily talented Hurricane Harley, who looked back to his brilliant best in not only holding at bay Lochinvar Art to produce an all-the-way win, but crushing the track record in the process.

The class has few tougher than Laura Crossland and David Moran’s Lochinvar Art, but reinsman Chris Alford, fresh from notching his 400th win of the season two nights prior, made it a true staying test and his Lauriston Bloodstock owned and bred colt answered every call.

Hurricane Harley reeled off quarters of 28.7, 28.5, 27.1 and 28.2 seconds for a 1:54.2 mile rate, some 1.1 seconds under Form Analyst’s age-track record and only half-a-second outside Rocknroll Icon’s all-age record for the 2200m at Ballarat.

"I knew we were racing pretty strong all the way and he had a good kick at the top of the straight," Alford said of Hurricane Harley. "It's a good run on a cold night.

"David forced the speed a bit ... I just wanted to try and keep Lochinvar Art back on my wheel so Harley didn't feel any pressure and, even though we were going hard he still travelled really well.

"(Hurricane Harley) was first up since the sires stakes, he hadn't had a run in a little while, so I'm sure that run will do him good the world of good heading forward."

The time was a stark contrast to the night’s third and final heat, which capped the first week of Breeders Crown pacing with a stunning seventh victory for the Stewart stable out of nine heats.

Three of those have been in the hands of Kate Gath including Demon Delight, with Gath and her talented Bettors Delight colt racing without pressure for much of the event and containing their main rival – Max Delight – on their back.

With no threat of a sprint lane at Ballarat, Gath followed a 45.8-second lead time with a 95-second first three quarters, which set up a cruisy dash up the straight for a 1.9-metre victory from New South Wales entrant Pitch Perfect.

“He got a good draw tonight and we were able to use that,” Gath told TrotsVision post-race. “With a horse like Max Delight (on our back), he’s very fast, although my guy’s very fast as well. It was a really nice little dash up the straight and he ran good.”

While Max Delight was ultimately caged in for David Aiken and Kima Frenning and had to settle for fourth, the seas parted for trainer-driver Matt Craven to top a tactically superb drive and victory for his entrant, Crime Writer, in the second heat.

Craven worked forward from gate four, crossing favourite Jesse Duke and slotting in behind the polemarker and leader Always Fast, booking himself an armchair ride to the final straight.

“We got a bit lucky there,” Craven told Trots Vision post-race. “The position was still available when we were able to get outside the leader and just tuck him back in for a lovely trail.”

Perfect Major advanced to the breeze and Jesse Duke welcomed the cover, but a 27.8-second third quarter by Always Fast provided some separation in the field and enabled Crime Writer to slip out at the final turn, work past the leader and hold off fast-finishing Out To Play to record a memorable win at odds.

“He was able to gain clear running at the top of the straight and he just ground it out nice, so it’s very pleasing for all involved,” Craven said. “He’s been a terrific horse from day dot, to have him being able to run consistently in these type of races, hopefully we can run another nice race next week and if we can end up in the final I’ll be more than happy.”

The pacing semi-finals fire up at Bendigo on August 17, which will also feature the all-important barrier draws for the August 24 pacing and trotting finals at Tabcorp Park Melton.

Gath said the luck of the draw would have a huge bearing on who ultimately got to ride in the victory carriage on finals night.

“I think for any of those horses, they are all so good, so it’s going to come down to whoever gets the best run can probably win the race,” she said. “(Demon Delight) sat in the death in the Vicbred and it was a terrific run, (but) I don’t think any of these horses will be able to sit in the death in the Breeders Crown and win against the horses they are going to be against. Really, draws are crucial to your winning chances.”


Michael Howard

HRV Trots Media

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