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Lennytheshark draws 1 & is favourite, but rivals declare race on!

Lennytheshark is the deserved short-priced favourite for Saturday night’s Allied Express Victoria Cup after drawing the coveted gate one today, but a couple of trainers with speedsters drawn wider out are tipping sparks early.

Lennytheshark draws 1 & is favourite, but rivals declare race on!

Lennytheshark is the deserved short-priced favourite for Saturday night’s Allied Express Victoria Cup after drawing the coveted gate one today, but a couple of trainers with speedsters drawn wider out are tipping sparks early.

Vince Vallelonga, who has seven-year-old Major Crocker out of gate six in the Victoria Cup, said his stable star would be using whatever weaponry he had on Saturday night. And he has gate speed in spades.

“Lennytheshark might still lead and be too good but … we’ll definitely be shanghaiing off the arm,” Vallelonga said.


“If we can lead then Lenny wants to come off the fence and have a crack for the front then that’s what he’ll do. There’s no point going back.”

It’s a view shared by New South Wales horseman Kevin Pizzuto, who trains Cup contenders Code Black (barrier four) and Tiger Tara (barrier five).

“We’re coming there to race,” he declared. “No point driving eight hours for nothing.”

Pizzuto said he would be applying hopple shorteners to Tiger Tara, which is mainly a longer-term strategy for Perth’s Inter Dominion, but he’s still declaring game-on for Saturday night.

“He’s got to get out harder with the Inter Dominion in mind, but in saying that we have Code Black too and actually I think Major Crocker if he wants to can probably get across the lot of us.”

Reinsman Chris Alford, who has won 27 races aboard Lennytheshark including last year’s Miracle Mile, the Victoria Cup in 2016 and the Inter Dominion in 2015, said he “couldn’t be happier” with Lennytheshark’s barrier one draw.

“It’s going to take something crazy to happen for someone to get across him from there and bring him undone,” Alford said. “He’s come through last week’s run (a win in the Olympus Feeds Smoken Up Sprint) really well.”

Kerryn Manning has two runners engaged and both take extensive winning form into Saturday night, with Ameretto chasing her seventh straight win from gate two and Mr Mojito (barrier 11) pursuing a fourth successive victory.

“I’m really happy with barrier two for Ameretto,” Manning said.

“It’s a bit tricky obviously that Lenny has drawn one, but really happy to be in gate two. She’s well-placed where she’s drawn and being in the running line already from there is a bonus.”

Ashlee Grives takes the steer on Ameretto on Saturday night with Manning attending a friend’s wedding in Queensland.

Manning’s husband Grant Campbell will have the reins aboard Mr Mojito.

“If the emergency comes out he’ll come into three on the back row which is not too bad for him but he’ll end up near the back. If the speed’s on that’ll suit him and if not we’re in trouble,” Manning said.

Cobbitty trainer Craig Cross is hoping there is pace aplenty to bring his five-year-old gelding Galactic Star into the equation.

“He’s going really good. He was parked the other night and they went 50 and a bit. He’ll be looking to come with a run I’d say, but we’re drawn well and we’ve got the best in Luke McCarthy driving,” Cross said.

Tim Butt-trained My Field Marshal is clear second-favourite for the race despite drawing gate 10.

Driver Anthony Butt gives the six-year-old Art Major entire a good chance of causing an upset, but admits he’ll need “some luck”.

“It was a super run the other night. He had a flat tyre for the last 600m and I was really happy with him. We’re definitely a winning chance, but as I said he’ll just need a little bit of luck and for things to happen.”

While Alford was thrilled to have drawn gate one with Lennytheshark, trainer Shane Tritton said Yayas Hot Spot “couldn’t have got a better draw” in barrier nine (eight if the emergency doesn’t gain a start).

“We’re not going to have to burn off the arm. This is his chance. Not sure if we can beat Lennytheshark but he’s fast enough to definitely run a place,” Tritton said.

“Lauren said he just got left a bit flat-footed at the bend (on Saturday night in the Smoken Up Sprint when fourth). If they make a race of it early we can hopefully do a bit of damage up the straight.”

Yayas Hot Spot finished second in the Hunter Cup earlier this year from three-back on the pegs at the bell, beating Lennytheshark home by 5.4m.

He has also placed in a 4YO Bonanza and Derby Final at Melton.

Meanwhile, trainers Andy Gath, Alan Tubbs and Stephen O’Donoghue were upfront about their winning chances after their charges drew poorly.

Gath has Burnaholeinmypocket from gate 12 and said “it makes it impossible, really”, adding “if he can run top-five that would be a great result.”

On San Carlo, who drew gate seven, O’Donoghue said: “We’re happy to be in it but barrier seven makes it extremely hard and unlikely.”

And Tubbs said things were “now out of his hands” after Tee Cee Bee Macray drew barrier 13.

“I’m really disappointed but that’s just the luck of it. We can’t plan anything from there. If they don’t run 43 to the peg then basically you’re out of it. We’ll just be able to enjoy the night now I’d say.”

Barrier draw for Allied Express Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton Saturday night
1  LENNYTHESHARK
2  AMERETTO
3  GALACTIC STAR
4  CODE BLACK
5  TIGER TARA
6  MAJOR CROCKER
7  SAN CARLO
-------------------------------------------------
8  FLAMING FLUTTER
9  YAYAS HOT SPOT
10 MY FIELD MARSHAL
11 MR MOJITO
12 BURNAHOLEINMYPOCKET
13 TEE CEE BEE MACRAY



Harness Racing Victoria




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