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From the Callers Box

April Review

As we draw closer to the 2022 TAB Constellations, there’s an obvious question that needs to be asked.

We will attract the ‘star power’ or those that are deemed ‘box office’ talent?

Given that the stakemoney across most, if not all features have dramatically increased, there is no reason these ‘showstoppers’ should not be at Albion Park during the month of July.

Or is there?

Last year, the TAB Constellations was a tremendous success with the likes of King Of Swing, Copy That, Amazing Dream, Expensive Ego and Krug all arriving and competing at their absolute best.

Will Queensland officials attract that same type of quality again this year?

From the above mentioned, King Of Swing is now retired following his historic threepeat in the Miracle Mile back in March, Copy That is recovering from severe injury, Amazing Dream is now racing in North America while Expensive Ego is enjoying a solid break after a busy period of racing.

New Zealand star Krug has unfortunately lost form.

So, what’s changed? Why isn’t there an extensive list of stars heading north?

We will see the likes of Self Assured, Spankem, South Coast Arden from New Zealand along with their three-year-old stars Akuta, Bollinger plus fillies True Fantasy and Aardies Express and we will see the all-conquering stables of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin head our way with their stable stars like Ladies In Red, Act Now and Beyond Delight among others?

Representation from Perth is crucial for growth and National awareness, will we see the likes of classy four-year-old Mighty Ronaldo or brilliant three-year-old filly Wonderful To Fly make their way east?

Last year, the harness racing calendar aligned to the calendar year and maybe a few jurisdictions were caught on the backfoot allowing Queensland to fit perfectly in the middle of the year but have since re-jigged their programs for better suitability?

Or has injury and the selling of talented types to North America taken its toll?

So, who is likely to be here in July?

Emerging star Spirit Of St Louis will again return, he teased fans last year during his Queensland campaign while it provided the perfect springboard for his time on the Grand Circuit.

The Belinda McCarthy trained pacer finished as the runner-up behind King Of Swing in the recent Miracle Mile and Hunter Cup while also claiming the Schweppes Sprint plus the Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo Cups.

His elevation to the elite level has been extraordinary.

And he looms as the ‘main’ player for races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship.

But he will have back-up from within his own stable; last start WA Pacing Cup winner Wildwest has been flagged for a Brisbane campaign along with Wagga track record holder Mach Shard.

The ‘X-factor’ from the McCarthy stable could be recently unretired former star pacer Jilliby Kung Fu, who has been standing stud at Cobbitty Equine.

The former Marg Lee trainee has not raced since January 17, 2000, when a runner-up behind Berisari at Melton.

It will be interesting to see who arrives but there’s another way of looking at it too.

Is this the best chance for the ‘locals’ to defend their patch of real estate?

Last start NSW Derby winner Leap To Fame could be the best of his division throughout Australia while Cat King Cole could sweep the Oaks classics.

Can track record holder Blacksadance, Turn It Up, Northview Hustler and Speech Is Silver claim a ‘major’ open class feature?

Interesting times ahead, let’s get it on.

Until next time.

Chris Barsby