Latest News

Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Speedy four-year-old Eldaytona’s 24 starts have been over 1730m, 2130m and 2185m, and he will be tested over the longer trip of 2536m when he contests the opening event, the Allwood Stud Devoted To Breeding Excellence Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“I don’t think that the extra distance will worry him,” said reinsman Lindsay Harper. “Ideally, I would like to lead, so we will be going forward at the start.”

Eldaytona, trained by Sue Wiscombe, has been in sparkling form and is a brilliant frontrunner. He will start from the No. 5 barrier and there is a strong possibility that The Code Breaker, from barrier four, will be driven out hard by Chris Voak in a bid to take up the running.

Eldaytona has been most impressive in his eight starts this season, with five wins, two close seconds and a tenth placing.

“His record is very good, and you can’t fault his runs,” said Harper. “The only time in his current preparation that he hasn’t won or run second was two starts ago when he locked wheels on the home turn. If it hadn’t been for that he would have won or run second.”

The Code Breaker, trained by Ross Olivieri, will be having his fourth start after an absence of seven months. At his most recent appearance, last Friday week, The Code Breaker was beaten out at the start by outsider Hes Royal Blue before he swept to the front after 500m, set a brisk pace and revealed excellent fighting qualities when beaten by a head by Ima Rockabilly Rebel.

Another smart beginner is trainer Mike Cornwall’s eight-year-old Iam The Real Thing, who led from barrier four and won over 2536m on Tuesday of last week. He will start from the No. 3 barrier and will be driven by Jocelyn Young.

Eldaytona possesses such sparkling natural speed that there appears a strong possibility that he will be able to burst to an early lead and then set a brisk pace in his bid to succeed at his first attempt over 2536m.

Harper agreed that Eldaytona would be meeting stiff opposition, but he expected another spirited performance from his horse. He pinpointed Nevermindthechaos, from barrier two on the back line, as one of the hardest to beat. The four-year-old mare, trained by Michael Young and to be handled by Gary Hall Jnr, was most impressive in winning four races in a row before her last-start fifth behind Booraa last Friday week when she faded after racing in the breeze.

Harper is also looking for a return to form of his enigmatic New Zealand-bred six-year-old Bettorstartdreaming, who will begin from barrier No. 4 in the Follow The Stars Pace over 2536m.

Bettorstartdreaming has been unplaced at his past five starts, but Harper believes that he is a strong winning chance this week if he is able to cross to the front at the start.

“He is just a leader, and if he doesn’t lead, he has got to be on the rails,” said Harper. “Last week in the one-out line, he didn’t try a yard (when he was a rank outsider at $126 and finished a well-beaten eleventh behind Typhoon Banner). A week before that he was beaten by less than two lengths in a Free-For-All (when the winner Double Up rated 1.55.6). He raced behind the leader, and I don’t think he tried that night.”

The only pacer likely to prevent Bettorstartdreaming from leading is the polemarker Regal Cheval, who has a losing sequence of 23 but has good gate speed and is a smart frontrunner.

Regal Cheval, trained and driven by Colin Brown, showed a welcome glimpse of form last Friday night when he had a tough run in the breeze and fought on gamely when third behind Unconditional and Run For Mercy.