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Breeders Crown 2yo races

The Breeders Crown is such a special day in Australian harness racing, it deserves more than just one preview. Aspiring sports writer Blake Redden, @1stPTPRacing, has a crack at the pair of 2yo races on the elite card.

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Melburnians have had to suffer through an insanely cold winter, but just like our English counterparts have had Frankel, there is a shining light at the end of the tunnel.

The Blue Chip Farms Breeders Crown series has become a traditional curtain call for the harness racing season.

Run on a Sunday afternoon in late August, the series is a culmination of heats, semi-finals and repechages right across Australia and New Zealand in the preceding months.

The last of the warriors left standing after a long season are set to do battle in nine separate Group 1 events, three for trotters and six for pacers worth in the vicinity of $1.4 million (AUD).

There are many a headline act with a raft of New Zealand trained and owned standardbreds hitting the east coast of Australia for the trans-Tasman rivalry.

The intense focus is on the juvenile standardbreds with the Group 1 races catering for two, three and four-year-old horses. The two richest races on the card are the Rock N Roll Heaven Breeders Crown Final for two-year-old colts and geldings (3.13pm Melbourne Time Sunday 17 August) and the American Ideal Breeders Crown Final for two-year-old fillies (5.32pm Melbourne Time), both worth $303,000(AUD).

For those wanting to have a punt, or just interested in the potential superstars of Australian harness racing, here's my take on the two races.

The boys:

1. Franco Nelson $2.80 – super in his only Australian start, raced greenly on the home bend and should be better for the run. Is likely to find continued support in the market due to his decided upside. Has a comfortable win over the race favourite in NZ. He will most likely be behind the leader when they turn for home, I just doubt whether he has the killer punch given his inexperience.

2. Flaming Flutter $12.00 – slowly improving and Border Control couldn’t fully shake him off in the semi-final. Flying under the radar and may end up locked away in between horses, if he gets any luck from there he is one for the multiples.

3. Border Control $2.00 – rising star whose only recent defeat was to a bonafide star who doesn’t line up here. He will be in front for most of the race and I would be more than surprised if anything managed to get passed him.

4. The Apache Kid $12.00 – been a fraction unlucky in his two Victorian starts. He is likely to get buried from the draw though and even if he isn’t I’m not sure he is as classy as a few others here.

5. Lennytheshark $31.00 – Semi-final winner who is well over the odds. He is really hitting his straps at the right time of the season and with any luck in running he is capable of a strong placing.

6. Ginger Bliss $51.00 – had every chance in his semi-final when he was well beaten. Drawn awkwardly and he just can’t be a factor in this race.

7. Palmisano $101.00 – he wasn’t terrible from a bad draw in the semi but in saying that he was beaten further than Ginger Bliss. In a head to head market with Ginger Bliss I’d be on this guy but unfortunately he isn’t value even at 100/1.

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8. Lochinver $9.00 – ran pretty well without much luck in his semi (5th beaten 17 metres) and was in fine form prior to that. He is likely to end up 3 back the pegs and although not impossible to do at Melton, it will be a mighty effort to win from there. A place chance at best.

9. Must Be Nice (emergency) SCRATCHED

10. Major Star $31.00 – super talented Kiwi who got a nice run behind the favourite in his semi and battled on well for fourth. He will have to have some luck from back here but I wouldn’t fall over if he ran into it at some stage.

11. No Ah Saint $41.00 – went into his semi-final with a bit of a wrap but he wasn’t overly impressive. From the awful draw you have to risk him.

12. Bit Of A Legend $7.00 – Terribly unlucky Kiwi who raced roughly just before the start of his semi. He was well backed for the series and for that race but is now forced to line up from the outside of the second line. It was a mighty effort to circle them and run second in the semi. If he is saved for one run at them he could do some serious damage. Despite the disastrous draw which has cruelled his winning chances, he is the main danger for mine.

The girls:

1. Quick Jet (emergency) $31.00 – unlikely to gain a start and even if she does her well beaten sixth in her semi doesn’t inspire confidence.

2. Bit Of A Babe $12.00 – drawn to get a soft run on the speed given she has some gate speed. Was a solid fourth in her semi but she would need to improve to be considered a serious winning hope.

3. Its Onlyforyou $1.85 – Kiwi filly that was dominant from a tricky second row draw last week. Her form prior to that was good without being dominant. I suspect she will look the winner at some stage but she is far too short in the market for mine.

4. Rogers Passion $51.00 – likely to find herself awkwardly placed after a few hundred metres with the two outside her pushing forward. She just battled for fifth in her semi and she won’t trouble them here.

5. Glenferrie Shuffle $3.40 – Filly who can be lethal off the mobile. She was fantastic when winning her semi from back in the field but I can see her pushing on early. Untapped with plenty of upside, the one to beat in my opinion.

6. Frith $7.50 – quick filly that was nailed by Glenferrie Shuffle last week. She will probably either have to sit parked or work hard for the lead, if she finds some cover and luck she is a place chance.

7. Victree Bonita $51.00 – not terrible when third without a lot of luck in her semi. The draw hurts and class-wise she is probably a level off this lot.

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8. Our Femme Fatale $9.50 – Underrated filly that battled hard for second in her semi behind Its Onlyforyou. The draw is a dilemma depending on the scratching of the emergency and the early pace from the two. I fancy her as the main danger with any luck but her fate could be sealed either way after 400 metres.

9. Snow Cone $101.00 – Talented filly but it may pay to follow her as a three-year-old when she has had time to mature. She ends up with a nice draw and she isn’t the silliest 100/1 shot I’ve ever seen. That said place best.

10. Chanelle Bromac $35.00 – Kiwi who was pretty good when fifth in her semi last week. If she can get a trail into the race she will travel into it nicely but expect her to struggle late.

11. Ohyouluckything $10.00 – drew well and had first shot at the sprint lane when third in her semi-final. She won’t have nearly as good a run in transit this week and I’d be happy to risk her.

12. Getya Wings Out $51.00 – pretty classy filly that will need obvious luck from the draw. If they go silly up front and she can get into the running line she may be able to finish off into fourth or fifth.

There is plenty of interest in the other races as well. Blitzthemcalder is one of the shortest priced favourites for the afternoon. He will likely go off just into the red but questions abound about his ability to trot truly under pressure. He has only lost three of his 12 starts and he broke in all three.

His driver Chris Alford will finish as the leading reinsman in Victoria this season and he explained to me early in the week that Ross Payne (trainer) has done a lot of work with the juvenile squaregaiter. He went on to say that he was as confident as you could be that he will trot safely.

The other likely short priced favourites for the day are Bellas Delight - who goes in with a picket fence of wins beside her name - and the Kiwi trotter Cyclone U Bolt who has only tasted defeat in Australia once from his four attempts. He will have to do it from the middle of the second row draw which makes it harder.

With the big day just under 2 days away Australia is gearing up for what is sure to be a memorable Breeders Crown series.

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