by Adam Hamilton
Australia’s best pacer Lochinvar Art returns to action at Melton on Saturday night.
It adds to an already stellar night, boasting eight Breeders Crown semi finals as well as a star-studded trotters’ free-for-all.
Lochinvar Art resumes after a let-up following his breathtaking win in last month’s Group 1 Victoria Cup over King Of Swing in track record time at Melton.
He dominates betting at $1.33 on the Aussie TAB for Saturday night’s Preux Chevalier free-for-all (2240m), but it’s never easy from outside the back row (gate 11) and trainer-driver David Moran warned he would be improved by the hitout.
“I think everyone knows by now he’s a horse who thrives on racing, so he’s always going to improve when he’s back from a few weeks out,” he said.
“He had a bit of a let-up after the Victoria Cup and he’s raring to go now. He’s as well as I can him without recent racing.
“I think he should win because of how good he is, but he’ll also improve a lot from it going into the Breeders Crown free-for-all the week after.”
Beyond the Breeders Crown, Moran is watching the Queensland border restrictions closely as far as the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park goes on December 12.
“It’s an option I’m still considering, if they open the borders,” he said. “But there’s some nice races for him down here around the same time as well.”
Lochinvar Art could stay home and target the delayed Vicbred 4YO series, which features a $130,000 Group 1 final on New Year’s Eve.
Then comes races like the Bendigo Cup (January 9), Shepparton Cup (January 16), Ballarat Cup (January 23) and Hunter Cup (February 6).
“I need to sit down and map out a plan, but I’d say the Shepparton, Ballarat and Hunter Cups would be definites,” he said.
“After the Hunter Cup, we’ll need to head to NSW quickly because Kevin (Gordon, owner) is up that way and wants him to run in the Newcastle Mile as his ticket into the Miracle Mile.”
Lochinvar Art headlines a super set of drives for Moran at Melton on Saturday night. He also drives exciting juveniles Ladies In Red and Jacks Hawk for trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin.
“Ladies In Red is really good, but she’ll have her work cut out from barrier six with Treachery in gate two this week,” Moran said.
“I really like Jacks Hawk as well and his chance will depend on how well he can hold-up (from the pole) with so many quick beginners outside him.”