Day At The Track

Plenty at stake in $100,000 Grand Prix

03:10 AM 09 Mar 2018 NZDT
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Trotting Masters, harness racing
Trotting Masters

There is so much at stake for harness racing star Victorian trotter Sparkling Success this weekend.

The John Meade prepared six-year-old lines up in the third leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters, the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.

Obviously the rich prizemoney is a key focus but an outright lead in the Trotting Masters is another attraction, Sparkling Success shares the lead with New Zealand trotter Amaretto Sun following his longshot triumph in the opening leg of the series, the Dominion at Addington back in November.

The Grand Prix was first staged back in 2001 and won by La Coocaracha, it features a great honour roll including former champion Sundons Gift who won the event four years in succession (2007-10).

Other great names include Take A Moment, Sumthingaboutmaori, Vulcan, Stent and last year’s winner On Thunder Road.

The five leg Trotting Masters takes in the Dominion, Great Southern Star, Grand Prix, ANZAC Cup and the Rowe Cup.

And with Amaretto Sun remaining in Christchurch, Sparkling Success has the perfect opportunity to add to his Great Southern Star triumph.

Regarded as the best trotter in Australia, Sparkling Success must overcome gate seven, the outside of the front-line, in Saturday’s 2240m mobile start feature.

Last week, in the Knight Pistol at Cranbourne, he finished a gallant third behind Red Hot Tooth and Tornado Valley after making an early break.

Despite the wide draw, punters will rally around their star performer.

And with a possible trip to New York for the $1.3 million International Trot at the end of the year looming, victory will only enhance his burgeoning reputation.

But rivals will come thick and fast.

New Australasian record holder Maori Time looms as a legitimate threat despite her tricky draw, the inside of the second-line.

Maori Time rated 1:51.5 when successful in the Gr.1 $50,000 Trotters Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 24.

Prepared by master conditioner Brent Lilley, the former New Zealand horseman shoots for his second victory in the Grand Prix following his triumph two years ago with millionaire performer Keystone Del.

Courageous performer Kyvalley Blur also represents the Lilley stable, the veteran gelding continues to race in excellent form highlighted by his victory three starts ago in the Dullard Cup.

Kyvalley Blur has drawn the outside of the second-line, gate 10.

Gun young trainer Anton Golino is represented by both My Tribeca and Vincennes, both unplaced behind Maori Time in Sydney last start.

My Tribeca has drawn ideally in gate two while Vincennes draws directly behind his stable in gate nine.

Former Kiwi trotter Tornado Valley showcased his immense talent last week when finishing gamely behind Red Hot Tooth at Cranbourne after proving costly in his Australian debut on February 23.

Prepared by Andy and Kate Gath, the Skyvalley gelding has drawn nicely in gate four.

In-form mare Regal Pepperell tackles her biggest challenge to date but boasts outstanding recent winning form.

A winner at 5 of her past 6 starts, the Michael Barby trained mare has claimed both the Hamilton and Wedderburn Cups during her recent form burst.

Regal Pepperel will start from the coveted inside gate.

Another classy mare in Sky Petite will prove competitive despite drawing awkwardly in gate 6 for trainer Dean Pattison.

Unplaced last week at Cranbourne behind Red Hot Tooth, the Skyvalley mare scored three starts ago in the Crystal Bucket at Echuca.

Savannah Jay Jay aims for his biggest victory and draws handily in gate three for trainer Stan Cameron, but the Armbro Invasion gelding is winless this season in eight starts.

The Boss Man (gate 5) is an early scratching.

The Grand Prix is listed as race 7 and scheduled to start at 9.30pm local time.

The two remaining legs of the APG Trotting Masters will be staged at Alexandra Park in Auckland next month.

Chris Barsby

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