Happy New Year to all.
Here’s hoping all racing dreams will be achieved in 2023.
Fair to say, it’s a big year coming up for the Albion Park Harness Racing Club – the brand-new Sunshine Stars Yearling Sale (March), the pumped-up Constellations carnival (July) followed by the return of the Inter Dominion series (December).
It will be the first time since 2001 since Albion Park hosted a Inter series.
But I want to focus on the ever-popular mid-year carnival.
As we know, Racing Queensland has recently announced prizemoney increases for several features including the Grand Circuit event, the Blacks A Fake ($400k) plus the Sunshine Sprint ($200k) and the Queensland Trotters Cup ($100k).
With the prizemoney doubling for the trotting feature, it has now been added to the ‘Trotting Masters’ by Harness Racing Australia (HRA).
What about the Rising Sun? The new highlight event that kick-starts the Constellations.
A prizemoney enhancement is expected for 2023, the third year since being introduced back in 2021.
The Rising Sun is a new and unique feature, primarily for four-year-old pacers plus the wild card of two three-year-old’s being invited to contest the 2138m mobile start event.
In the inaugural edition, it was New Zealand star Krug and Kashed Up contesting the feature while Leap To Fame and Ripp chased glory last year, the quartet all coming up a little short.
To date, the four-year-old mares have dominated with Amazing Dream triumphant while Ladies In Red doubled down for the ladies the following year.
So, can a three-year-old score this year? Will it be third time lucky? Does a three-year-old need to win sooner rather later for the event to maintain its spot as an achievable target?
Remember, any three-year-old who proves successful lands their respective connections a $100,000 bonus.
A more than handy carrot to dangle given many three-year-old features are now jammed at the back end of the year.
So, let’s look at the Queensland class of likely candidates for the 2023 edition.
Gr.1 Triad winner For Real Life headlines the list of QBRED talent while Frankie Ferocious, Apollo Dreamz and Free Thinker will appear on a short list for officials.
Then add the likes of New Zealand bred Aroda, Bold Medley Jujon, Alta Magacian, Borella and Golden Bay while Sure Thing Captain, Khulan Kid and Mydadsaid all look likely types.
The interstate list runs deep with the likes of Tardelli, Better Be The Best, On Deadline, The Lost Storm, First Responder, School Captain, Captains Knock, Spirit Of Arion, Petracca, Major Celebrity, Dangerous, Perfect Class and Dat Lou all likely to be under close attention.
The obvious New Zealand candidates include Don’t Stop Dreaming, Merlin and the unbeaten filly Millwood Nike.
The latter is unlikely given that a three-year-old filly has never been invited to contest the Rising Sun to date.
The above mentioned are all richly talented but how far they improve remains too been seen.
Can they step-up and take down an older type?
Remembering, the four-year-old talent includes the likes of Derby King Leap To Fame, speed machine Captain Ravishing, enigmatic performer Catch A Wave plus the deadly Kiwi duo of Akuta and Republican Party among others so it won’t be easy.
Obviously, there’s plenty of water to go under the bridge before July but the countdown is already underway.
Could this be the year for a three-year-old to rewrite history?
Let’s wait and see.
Until next time.