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Australian Harness Racing Preview – 3rd/4th November 2023

3 minute read

Two big nights of Group 1 racing this weekend with the three-year-olds doing battle in the west and the mares chasing the crown as the nation’s best in Victoria.

The draw for Friday night's WA Derby at Gloucester Park has created some challenges for the fancies but star colt Never Ending is heavily favoured to overcome his second row barrier.

He has had a setback since his win at Bunbury but that was his third success on the trot and his 12th from 13 starts overall.

Never Ending is already a multiple Group 1 winner and has proven in the past that he has the ability to overcome a challenging draw in a feature race. He can do it again.

Former Kiwi Mister Smartee has yet to taste defeat in four starts since arriving in WA, last time leading to land a G3. The wider draw presents more of a challenge but winning form is hard to knock.

Im The Black Flash has been dealt a blow with a second row draw but made it back-to-back wins when scoring here last week so must be respected while Skylou is in winning form and gets his chance from the ace draw.

Magnificent Storm can return to winning form in Perth's other feature, the Navy Cup.

He made a strong return from his Queensland stint when he came from a wider barrier to go under by just a head in the G2 Stratton Cup here last week.

Magnificent Storm has won five of six second-up attempts so will have come on and should go close.

Ladies In Red.
Ladies In Red. Picture: HRV

our top class mares will be vying to reign supreme in the Queen Of The Pacific at Melton on Saturday night.

Last year's winner Ladies In Red will be heavily favoured to keep her crown after last week's strong win when second-up off a long spell where she had to work but toughed it out.

She draws the back row but is all class and has won all three third-up attempts so will be at her peak now.

Stablemate Encipher will relish the return to her own sex having enjoyed a huge pay day when winning the Eureka in Sydney before tackling the Victoria Cup last time.

She was far from disgraced there and is never easy to beat in mares' races.

Amore Vita is another from the Emma Stewart barn and is right in this.

She finished just in front of Encipher in the Victoria Cup and before that went through the Vicbred 4M Super Series Final undefeated, winning the Group 1 Final by 6m here two back.

Sydneysider Braeview Kelly could upset the apple cart having scored a fresh win at Menangle before tackling the boys last time.

She'll be race fit third up and looks to have fared best at the draw of the big guns.

Encipher. Picture: Harness Racing Victoria

A small but select field tackles the night's other feature, the 4YO & 5YO Championship.

Act Now was terrific when he came from the back row to beat an elite field and win the Group 1 Victoria Cup last time out.

His strike rates at the circuit and distance are impressive and he should be able to push forward from this draw. That should see him had to beat.

Catch A Wave charged home to just miss Act Now in the Victoria Cup then was a beaten favourite here last week but had to work so wasn't disgraced when placed. With better fortune he can atone.

Better Eclipse faded out of the Victoria Cup but had gone into that with a couple of recent G2 wins to his credit so he is capable of much better.

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