20m Looks A Gift For Leap To Fame

An inside second line draw was no hurdle for Leap To Fame last week when taking his winning streak to 12, and likewise, his first attempt at standing start conditions looks no obstacle for the champion.

Rolling forward to sit parked for the last 1100 metres last week, Grant Dixon had the race in his control as soon as moving to the wheel of the leader, Blacksadance.

Taking his record to 36 wins from 46 starts with the latest victory, bad luck looks the only threat to improving that this week from the 20-metre impost in the Flashing Red Handicap.

Safely, but not brilliantly away at his trial two weeks ago from behind the tapes, this week will be the first time the champion will be tested under race conditions from the standing start, however he will be able to avoid any early traffic issues as the lone back marker.

Send It is yet to miss a placing in seven attempts from behind the tapes, with four wins and three minors included in the haul, the Shane Graham trained gelding has two wins from a 30-metre handicap and a last start victory off 20 metres.

This will be another test as he faces a close to capacity field for the first time at the standing start conditions, however the seven-year-old has been rejuvenated this season and if Larry strikes any bad luck, Teddy will be one runner that is up to the task of capitalising.

Luke McCarthy partnered with Mach Shard to win this race in 2022 and this year will be represented by Cantfindabettorman, one of very few pacers to boast a victory over Leap To Fame at Albion Park.

Runner-up to Leap To Fame last week under mobile conditions, McCarthy was pleased with the effort where the five-year-old produced sectionally but is aware of the task at hand.

“Now’s the time for him to step up to that next level,” McCarthy said.

“With the right run in some of these good races because of his tactical speed he is dangerous.”

Manila Playboy was runner-up in this race last year from a 10-metre mark and faces the same impost again in 2024, with driver Angus Garrard trying to remain positive by the handicaps.

“You never get a chance in a mobile race to get a 10-metre head start on Leap To Fame,” Garrard said.

“I think we just need to play by ear and get away from the start and I think if our guy is 100 percent, we can be in the finish.

“There is a fair few off the front line that are up in grade a fair bit and probably look they are going to be on the front end for the first little bit at least.”

Despite only having raced twice from a standing start, Garrard is not concerned about the manners of the six-year-old.

“Yeah, I’m pretty confident in his stand start manners, we’ve got him pretty worked out now.”

Garrard moved equal with Pete McMullen on the Metro Drivers Premiership last week and has nine drives on the 10-race program, marking Defensive Guy in race 10 as his brightest hope after making an error last start.

“He made an uncharacteristic break which was disappointing, but on the clock he was exceptional.

“He run his last mile in 55 and a piece over the 2600, I’m sure we will see an improved horse on Saturday night, and I think he will be hard to beat.

Race three will see Aardies Express and Captain Shuffles both drop back from last week’s FFA to tackle the Wolf Signs Band 4/2 Pace, with Captain Shuffles gaining the barrier advantage from the front line.

Resuming from a spell last week, the Ben Crosby trained five-year-old was taken back early from gate four before running his own last 800 in 54.47 with a 26.63 last quarter in finishing nine metres from Leap To Fame.

Aardies Flash which led early, was shuffled to three back along the poles, before finding the gaps in the stretch to rattle home on the passing lane for 3rd when just 2m in arrears.

The Pete McMullen trained four-year-old will start two-out on the second line and be hoping for a solid tempo to boost his chances in the closing stages.

In the Open Mare’s pace, race 6, the Luke McCarthy trained and driven Its Ebonynivory can overcome gate seven to make it three wins in succession.

Drawn this same gate last week, the seven-year-old was sent forward to sit parked over the last 1000 metres, pulling clear for an effortless victory and meeting a similar line-up, the result can be repeated.

Race one is scheduled for 5.32pm, with race 10 at 10.14pm


Chris Barsby- R9 N10 Not To Be Denied: “This is a very good mare, part of the Luke McCarthy stable. He produced a good one last week in Eye Keep Smiling and I think this mare does something very similar. I’m expecting it to be short and sweet.”

Darren Clayton- R8 N1 Sky Blu: “After three runs back from a spell, this mare draws the marble and looks to have worked into the fitness to cash in. Snagged back last week and running on strongly behind the class mare Eye Keep Smiling, she should get every chance here.”