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Australian Harness Racing Preview – 3rd February 2024

3 minute read

Champion Leap To Fame and the horse that chased him home in the Inter Dominion final will start from the outside of the front row in an interesting twist to the barrier draw for Saturday night’s A.G. Hunter Cup at Melton.

Leap To Fame.
Leap To Fame. Picture: Dan Costello/Racing Queensland

Leap To Fame's draw of barrier six is one spot wider than in his Inter Dominion victory in December while Better Eclipse, who won the Casey Classic since his second in the ID final, draws on his outside.

Connections of Leap To Fame may have hoped to for a gate closer to the pegs but they'll find it hard not to go into the Hunter Cup full of confidence given their five-year-old's seven-race winning spree that included his ID clean sweep in December.

Leap To Fame has the class and strength to either push on to the lead or to sit parked and work if needed and it is that versatility that his rivals will find tough to crack.

The marble has fallen best for Catch A Wave who gets his chance to spring an upset from the ace draw.

He'll be fitter for the resuming effort in the Ballarat Cup when he worked home well and led to win last year's Miracle Mile so could be dangerous with a soft run.

Kiwi raider Dont Stop Dreaming provides the X-factor for the race.

He drew the back row and only missed by a head in the Casey Classic at his local debut and had put together a string of wins and placings in New Zealand before that, crossing the Tasman after a Group 2 victory in December.

He can track the big guns from his back row draw and could have the last shot.

Taipo claimed a couple of nice scalps in his last-start Menangle win and the draw gives him the chance to jag a top-four spot along with Cya Art who has been ultra consistent since crossing the Tasman.

Just Believe. Picture: Dan Costello/Racing Queensland
Just Believe. Picture: Dan Costello/Racing Queensland

The Great Southern Star is the other highlight of the Melton card with the trotters going around in the heats early on the program and backing up in the final later in the night.

Defending champion Just Believe has been unstoppable since his return from Europe, winning all seven starts including his Inter Dominion clean sweep.

He has been doing so well that connections sent him around in last week's Dullard Cup to keep him primed for this and a second row draw is unlikely to stop him in the first of the heats.

Queen Elida hasn't been able to match the champ this campaign but she has had some tricky barriers so a better draw could see her make a race of it along with Arcee Phoenix who is on the rise. He was far from disgraced from the back row when fifth to Just Believe in The Knight Pistol and came from a similar barrier to this when he won the Maori Mile two back.

European import Callmethebreeze looks the one in the opening heat having made a big impression when he chased Just Believe for second in The Knight Pistol in his local debut. He is an accomplished trotter who will be fitter and should receive the favours from the low draw.

Majestuoso is the big query after close to a year on the sidelines but he was the Great Southern Star champion in 2022 so is good enough if right while Mufasa Metro has recorded several big-race placings behind Just Believe this campaign and with that rival going around in the next event this could be his chance to win one.

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