Local trainer Arna Donnelly was over the moon when the draws came out for next Sunday’s IRT Harness Jewels at Cambridge Raceway.
The Waikato horsewoman will contest the Gr.1 Civtec 4YO Emerald (1609m) with New York Minute and Kango, who have drawn barrier one and two respectively.
Both geldings will get the best possible trip over the sprint distance, with their chances aided by hot favourite Copy That drawing the outside of the second row.
“It is fantastic when you scroll through the fields and see those draws,” Donnelly said.
New York Minute doesn’t take an overly flattering formline into Sunday, but Donnelly said drawing the ace marble will significantly help his cause.
“New York Minute has been racing really well,” she said. “I know there are a few in the race that are a lot better than him, but he is going to cover no extra ground.
“All he has to do is take the pegs and hope for a bit of luck, and hope he can keep up with them, which I am sure he will.”
Stable junior driver Alicia Harrison will do the steering behind the son of Art Major and Donnelly is happy that she has been able to reward her staff member with a Group One drive on her home track.
“It is fantastic for her and for the horse, especially back on our home track,” Donnelly said.
Kango heads into Sunday off the back of a last start victory at Cambridge and Donnelly was pleased with his last hit-out at the Cambridge workouts on Saturday ahead of his Group One test.
“Kango has the perfect draw,” she said. “He had a really nice trial on Saturday morning, he is right on target. He is looking really sharp and I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment.”
Donnelly is looking forward to the Harness Jewels, New Zealand’s biggest day in Harness Racing, and she has her fingers-crossed one of her charges can upset the apple cart.
“It’s fantastic to have a couple of runners in a Group One on your home track,” she said.
“It would be good to win our first Group One out here, being our home track and all, but it’s really good having them in there.”
Meanwhile, Donnelly was celebrating the perfect result at Alexandra Park last Friday when her only runner on the night, Rough And Ready, took out the Sophie Morrison 21st Birthday Mobile Pace (2200m).
“It was a fantastic run and it was penalty free to boot, so it was good.”
Back to the Jewels next Sunday, Waikato residents can also get in behind a few other local hopes.
Matthew White will train his first Jewels runner on his home track when Quick Barbie lines-up in the Gr.1 Montana Food & Events 2YO Ruby (1609m), while Tamahere horseman Dr Luk Chin will line-up Jasinova in the Gr.1 Mitre 10 3YO Ruby (1609m).
Hamilton dual code trainer Graeme Rogerson will have three runners, including Gaz Man in the 3YO Ruby, Classy Operator in the Gr.1 McMillan Equine Feeds 2YO Emerald (1609m), and Ahwel in the 2YO Ruby.
Gates will open at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday June 6 at 11am, with the first race set to start at 12:17pm. – Cambridge Raceway