One of the country’s best pacing events will take place this Sunday night when Launceston hosts the $100, 000 Group 1 Country Club Tasmania Australian Derby.
12 elite pacers will line-up in the 2698m mobile start event, with Art Major colt Renaissance Man coming out the winner in the barrier draw with the prized “pole” start.
Renaissance Man came out the winner in the barrier draw with the prized ‘pole’ start
The talented Andy Gath-trained Renaissance Man was named the Victorian two-year-old Horse of the Year last season and has is already a dual Group 1 winner.
But in his most recent attempts at a Group 1 hat-trick, Renaissance Man drew nightmare barriers.
Back in early February he finished an unlucky sixth in the Group 1 Alabar Victoria Derby after starting from barrier seven. Then in the Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold at Menangle last start, Gath’s worst nightmares came true when Renaissance Man drew the far outside barrier.
The talented colt did well though, running a gallant fourth place just five metres back from the winner Courage To Rule, and Gath feels his time has come this round having been blessed with the best barrier on Sunday.
The ideal barrier draw will allow Renaissance Man, due to be driven by Gath’s wife Kate, to gain an early lead that he will try to hold on to until the end.
Some of the other pre-race favourites did not fare so well and will have their work cut out for them on Sunday if they are to secure the coveted Group 1 victory.
The in-form Christian Slater trained and driven Ogrady will start from barrier eight as the local gelding aims for his fourth successive victory. Village Of Dreams won from this barrier last year, so all hope is not lost for the local.
Another hot contender drawn poorly for Sunday is the classy Queensland pacer Lanercost. Trained by Darrel Graham, who will be driving in the Derby, the Courage Under Fire colt has had a dazzling career to date and despite drawing barrier 10, presents one of the biggest threats to Renaissance Man.
Lanercost has finished in the money in all of his 16 career starts with 13 wins, two seconds and a third for one of the most impressive strike rates seen by a three-year-old.
The less than ideal barrier draw presents Lanercost with one of his toughest tests to date, but he has the speed and ability to chase down the leader and maybe even come away with the win.
Lanercost is one of only two New Zealand bred pacers starting in the Tasmanian Australian Derby this year, the other is In The Pocket colt Mapua Legend who will start from barrier four.
Other last start winners starting in the star-studded back row along with Lanercost include Maybe Doc (9) and another pacer from boom sire Courage Under Fire, Bells And Whistles (12).
You can catch the great three-year-old pacers in action in the 2010 Country Club Tasmania Australian Derby as race seven at 8:23pm on Sunday’s great nine-event card.
Other highlights of the night will be the Invitation Drivers Pace (Race 4 – 7:01pm) and the $10, 000 Golden Slipper for two-year-olds (Race 6 – 7:50pm).
2010 Tasmania Australian Derby Final Field & Barriers
|A P Gath||Kate Gath||3C4|
|W M Campbell||Rohan Hadley||3C2|
ADDA PATERNAL SUIT
|P W Tonkin||Grant Campbell||3C4|
MAPUA LEGEND (NZ)
|I J Frost||Gareth Rattray||3C3|
|S M Hunter||Gavin Lang||3C3|
|P G Rawnsley||Samuel Rawnsley||3C1|
|I J Frost||Andrew Arnott||3C3|
|C D Salter||Christian Salter||3C3|
|C T Hayes||Grant Hodges||3C1|
|D W Graham||Darrel Graham||3C8|
|G R Smith||James Johnson||3C2|
BELLS AND WHISTLES
|C C Attard||John Caldow||3C6|