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The Hot Seat Weekender with Brittany Graham

In The Gig Harness Racing expert, BRITTANY GRAHAM, looks ahead to all the action coming up and tosses in a tip or two along the way.

MOMENT IN THE SUN IS FOOD FOR THOUGHT

DOES the excitement and anticipation surrounding The Rising Sun suggest that more emphasis should be placed on the four-year-old season?

The options for two and three-year-old’s are endless and it is nigh on impossible for any youngster to target all of the riches available, though the same can’t be said at four.

Quite often thought of as a bridging year, the step from age group racing to open company is daunting and the rough and tough nature of the competition can sometimes dent a horse’s confidence. Potentially extenuating the circumstances is how quickly a talented horse can now race their way through the ratings, where a return over a national rating of 100 is extremely difficult.

One of harness racing’s key performance indicators is extending a horse’s racing life and having more options for older horses may entice connections to give their charges more time to develop and have long successful careers.

Each year we lose a high number of what I would call ‘cusp’ horses from the system to North America and Canada. It is so often the case that once a horse has competed in its futurity races at two and three, and made its way through the grades, connections will cash in on strong US interest, often depleting our open class stock. If there were more options for four-year-old’s we may see these types stay in the system for another season and it could well be the making of the horse to continue its career in Australia.

At this stage, the main targets for the age group include the Chariots Of Fire and its lead up races, the Golden Nugget in the West and now the Rising Sun in Australia, whereas the Taylor Mile, Messenger and Harness Jewels are on the menu in New Zealand.

I would love to see more options for four-year-old’s, even if it meant reshuffling some stakes options away from those congested juvenile years. The popularity of The Rising Sun proves that the appetite is there.

Check out the latest TAB Harness Racing markets here.

EARLY NORTHERN EXPOSURE FOR THE ‘KING’

THE ‘King’ will make an earlier than expected return to Albion Park tomorrow (Saturday) night when he lines up in the Lucky Creed Open event over 2680m.

KING OF SWING made a successful return last week at Menangle where he was able to zip home in a 26 second closing quarter to hold off the flying BUNDORAN and stablemate STAR GALLERIA.

The now six-year-old is taking aim at the Sunshine Sprint on July 17 and a title defence of the Blacks A Fake on July 24.
Among his rivals tomorrow evening is another former Miracle Mile winner in SPANKEM who was a narrow victor at the track last week after things turned ugly the week prior in the Flashing Red.

EXPENSIVE EGO will also grace ‘The Creek’, kicking off his Rising Sun campaign in Race 5, with new stable acquisition SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS out to make an impression in a bid for a spot in the rich three and four-year-old event.

Headline Kiwis COPY THAT, KRUG and AMAZING DREAM all arrived in Queensland late last week and will take different paths towards their target events.

COPY THAT has bounced out of his Harness Jewels disappointment well and will trial at Albion Park next Friday before contesting the Wondais Mate on July 3.

Ray Green will roll out AMERICAN DEALER and TOMMY LINCOLN in races at Albion Park this Tuesday as kick-off points for their campaigns.

KRUG is here to race, reports his trainer Cran Dalgety, and will head to Redcliffe for their derby next Saturday evening. His regular driver Blair Orange will partner the colt in the Rising Sun and Queensland Derby however a lucky local will jump aboard him in next week’s feature.

AMAZING DREAM is still awaiting her new trainer Nathan Purdon’s arrival in the state, with the young gun currently dealing with Covid border restrictions. Expect to see her trial in the next few weeks before she takes on the Fleur De Lil mares feature on July 10.

Make sure you tune in to In The Gig Tuesday at 6pm on Sky 2 for further Queensland Constellations news.

Brittany Graham is a regular host on Sky Racing and the Sky Racing Active app, plus In The Gig with Ben Way and Gareth Hall every Tuesday night on Sky Racing 2 from 6pm.

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