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Australian Harness Racing Preview – 28/29th October 2023

3 minute read

Sunday afternoon racing at Menangle steals the spotlight this week with four Group 1 prizes up for grabs in the NSW Breeders Challenge finals.

Interstate raiders look set to play a big role in each of those features and with many of the favourites drawing well there are some interesting clashes in store.

Emma Stewart looks set to play a big role across the four Group 1s including the 2CG decider where she has early favourite War Dan Buddy.

The colt was first passed the post in his semi final of this series but lost on protest. That was just his second visit to this circuit, the other resulting in a win in the rich Gold Bullion Final where he beat a subsequent Group 1 winner.

He draws a couple of spots wider and if he is more tractable this week he will be hard to stop.

Nathan Street made it three wins from four starts this time in when he led from a wider barrier to score by more than 5m in his semi. He is progressing well and has the speed to find a prominent position.

Royal Cruiser was awarded his semi in the stewards room and has been kept up to the mark with a trial win since. The wide draw presents a challenge but he has yet to miss the top two this time so deserves respect.

Star filly Lux Aeterna is the one to beat the 2F final after extending her unbeaten streak to eight when winning her semi by 3m.

She had enough speed to lead from a wider barrier there so will go forward again from this draw. She is all class and will be hard to stop.

The danger is Stewart's Renewal who is a good filly yet to miss a place.

She has won in both rounds of this series, last time leading to land her semi by 5.4m. She was runner up in her last Group 1 attempt in the Vicbred Final at Melton last month and a good draw gives her the chance to go one better.

Captains Knock.
Captains Knock. Picture: Harness Racing New South Wales

he 3CG final is one of the more interesting clashes and last year's juvenile winner Captains Knock looks to offer decent value from the ace draw after he led from a couple of spots wider and dug deep to win last week's semi.

He is building a good record here and is drawn to be right there without working and that gives him winning claims.

Better Be The Best is the obvious danger after extending his winning streak to six in last week's semi. He found the front there and is drawn well enough to push forward again.

He has imposing records at the venue and the distance so can definitely add another win to his sequence.

Oliver Dan was fourth in the Victoria Derby before sitting parked when edged out by Captains Knock last week. There was plenty of merit in that effort and while he may have to work again he is racing well.

Top filly Major Delight is the most accomplished of the fillies in the 3F race and her record is hard to knock.

She backed up off a narrow defeat in the Victoria Oaks when overcoming wide draw to win last week's semi, her 13th win from 15 starts.

The margin there wasn't huge but it saw her unbeaten in three attempts at the circuit and the distance including the 2F version of this race last year and she is aided the low draw.

Progressive filly Eye Keep Smiling draws on her outside and must be a big danger from there.

She was terrific in coming from the extreme outside to cruise home in her semi last week and her only defeat in her last eight starts came when she broke against older rivals.

Major Delight.
Major Delight. Picture: Harness Racing New South Wales

Melton hosts some quality pacers on Saturday night including Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave in the Gammalite Free For All.

He was unlucky not to win the Victoria Cup last start when he was dragged back after being trapped wide before steaming home to miss by a head as runner up. He draws on the back row but a performance anything like his latest will see him very hard to beat.

Topliner Ladies In Red appears again in the mares' feature and will be much improved after going under by just a neck in her first outing back after 11 months.

The multiple Group 1 winner races very well second up and also owns impressive strike rates at the circuit and the distance.



Melton Saturday Race 3 #2 Winegum – improved to place last start and can peak third-up from the good draw.

Menangle Sunday Race 10 #3 Saginaw – reliable and well drawn so makes appeal at each way odds.

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