Hayden Barnes keen to kick a goal in the Peak of The Creek series

Hayden Barnes is not much of a soccer man but he is optimistic of kicking a goal or two through the 2022 edition of the Group 2 Peak Of The Creek series.

The trainer and driver will start gelding Harry Kane in the second of the two heats from Albion Park on Thursday evening, aiming to land a position in the Final on Saturday night on the big stage of the TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Season.

The former Kiwi-based pacer is named after prolific Premier League striker Harry Kane, who ply’s his trade for club Tottenham Hotspur and captains the England national team.

While the 26-year-old Barnes is not an expert when it comes to the world game, he knows enough to understand that Kane is recognised as a high-level goal scorer in his code.

The three-year-old has been in Australia for the back half of 2022 and the trainer-driver has been impressed with the way he has continued to come on.

“He keeps improving, hopefully he can keep getting better and then I will be happy,” Hayden said.

He picked up his maiden triumph at The Triangle on the Redcliffe Peninsula in July and has gone on to add another couple of victories and half a dozen minor placings to his resume.

Harry Kane – with Barnes in the bike – has drawn the all-important one slot for Thursday’s heat over 1660 metres.

Harry Kane and Hayden Barnes after an Albion Park victory.

“He has been running the gate pretty good so hopefully he can hold a good spot and run top five to qualify for Saturday’s Final,” Barnes said.

“That is the plan.

“From the inside, that should help him a lot.”

The barrier draw for the $50,000 Group 2  2021 Peak of the Creek Final this Saturday will be completed in a unique way following the heats on Thursday night.

The unique Peak Of The Creek – which will be run for the second time this year – will see heats contested two nights prior to the Final, with connections then able to select their own barrier based on individual horse times run in the heats.

Harry Kane won two on the bounce in the middle stages of September but has not run in the money in each of his last three efforts, most recently finishing last in the final event from Albion Park on Saturday night.

“I was disappointed with his last two runs,” Barnes said.

“Before that, he was flying.

“In saying that, he still ran a pretty good half on Saturday night.

“Maybe he was too far back and he was racing against a bit better horses than what he has been racing.”

The brother of fellow reinsman Brendan Barnes, Hayden has been pleased with his campaign in the sulky so far this year.

As of Wednesday afternoon, he has collected 59 victories, which has already bettered his mark last season from less drives.

Hayden was able to pick up a number of key drives from the stable of Lola Weidemann when Weidemann was on the sidelines with a wrist injury through the middle stages of the year.

Of the two heats on Thursday evening, leading driver Shane Graham believes the first of the two is the strongest.

Harry Kane, owner Bree Evans and Hayden Barnes after a Redcliffe victory.

Graham presents with stable new comer Mossdale Mac in the first heat after the former Kiwi trialled at Albion Park earlier this month for the first time.

Graham and the three-time career winner from across the ditch have drawn the front row for the assignment.

“He is a big lump of a horse and he has been over here for a few weeks now and settled in well,’ Graham said.

“I was quite happy with his trial the other day and he has been working well.

“If we can qualify, I am sure he will not disappoint.”

The Peak of The Creek barrier draw will be streamed on the Racing Queensland and Albion Park websites between races five and six on Thursday evening ahead of Saturday’s decider.

Uncle Shank – for the leading combination of Pete McMullen and Chantal Turpin – took out the first edition of the Peak of The Creek last year.

Also, on the program on Saturday evening will be the Be Good Johnny Sprint at Group 3 level, the Listed Queen Of The Creek as well as a Group 3 Trotting Feature.

By Jordan Gerrans