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Victoria Cup preview

One of the elite races on the Australasian Harness Racing calendar is the time-honoured Victoria Cup. Not a flashy sprint over a mile, nor a long standing start staying race, but a race at a standard distance under standard conditions, with only the very best invited. Making his debut on the blog is another of the Krahe family, this time's it Luke. You'll soon work out that astute knowledge of the harness game runs strong in this family. Read more of Luke's witterings via @LukeKrahe.

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The Victoria Cup
2240m mobile start.
Saturday Dec 14, 2127 AEDST, 1027 GMT.


The last Grand circuit event for the calendar year provides us with one of the more open in recent memory. Betting shops have come up with Miracle Mile winner BEAUTIDE as the favourite, although from Barrier 11 I dare say that the $4.40 on offer at the moment is gross unders. The draw is not as bad as it seems, I can see there being a 3 wide line the entire race, making horses that are drawn to be in the running line not as advantageous.

Even if you knew very little about harness racing, you would assume that Lance Justice will be pushing forward at the start and trying to find the top on the old warhorse SMOKEN UP, as his customary driving style (and don’t we all love him for it).

This leaves the question as to what the master Gavin Lang will do on the freakishly talented RESTREPO. He does have gate speed, and being a feature I don’t expect that Gavin will be trying one of his drives where he somehow finds himself 4 pegs from a good draw and drives for luck. I expect him to run the gate and try and cross to pegs first, and then hand up to Lance on SMOKEN UP who will no doubt appreciate an easier run than last year when the champ was basically 3 wide the journey.

Which brings us to last year's winner CARIBBEAN BLASTER. He seems to be going ok at the moment, without winning, and seems that there is always a bad luck story, wether it be the draw, driver or other uncontrollable factors. Will need to do no work in the run, and for Kate Gath to outdrive them. If my calculations are correct and RESTREPO tries to get to pegs first, it leaves me wondering what Scott Stewart on the hugely overrated, or should that be enigmatic, BITOBLISS will do from the pole? The horse has shown gate speed in the past, but will he want to get in a speed war with Gavin and Lance at the start? Although run some freakish races, he has never been one of mine, and never proven himself at this level consistently.

CHRISTEN ME , although drawn the car park is my selection in the race. As stated earlier I think that there will be a 3 wide line the entire race, and he will be the one benefiting with the trail into it at the right time. Can reel off unbelievable quarters and think that he will be there at the right time when the veteran up front is feeling every bit of that 11 years of age.

The other two with outside chances are FOR A REASON for team McCarthy, started favourite for the Miracle Mile last week, and had every chance. Will be thereabouts but drawn 9 I can just see him being bottled up when the runs are coming. Will take an exhibition from Luke, although I don’t think he drives near as good when not in his own backyard at Menangle.

John McCarthy’s raider TERRORWAY was enormous last week and although he was gallant in defeat last year here when worked to the front, I just think that John will be lost a little in this field, and without offending, doesn’t have the class and poise to do what Gavin (I know I have shown a lot of love for G Lang here, but if you saw his drive on Terrorway last week you wouldn’t be surprised) did on the horse last week. If John had of driven last week, it would have been a hard held 9th in the form guide.

Those with no chance either because they are not up to it or the draw has severely cruelled them are THE GOLD ACE (horrible draw and with only 2 other family members in the race?), WARTIME SWEETHEART (won the Popular Alm at cricket score odds last go, and will be again), MAH SISH (will get a soft pegs run as he did last year, and still wasn’t good enough and not sure how good he is going) and IM VICTORIOUS (certain people on social media will have you believe he deserves to be racing in these features in the east, I guess that’s the beauty of social media?)

My Selection: CHRISTEN ME to win.

Save your money on the exotics for another time, or maybe pool your trifecta and first 4 money in a guessing competition on how many times Greg Hayes says “TRIGGER” on the SKY coverage, which we hope is better than the 30 sec pre race that we were afforded Miracle Mile night by the producers at SKY. Should be a fascinating race.

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