Jason and Jessica Sharp have had to travel a long way from home to get some overdue luck with boxes for talented sisters Junk Food Junkie and Devel Sixteen.
The Sharps are heading from Avalon to Sydney to contest tonight’s heats of the Group 1 Ladbrokes Peter Mosman Opal with the littermates by the great Fernando Bale, which won the Peter Mosman in 2015 before it became a female-only feature.
While draws haven’t been kind to Junk Food Junkie and Devel Sixteen in their home state recently, the dreaded visitor’s box syndrome hasn’t struck at Wentworth Park, with both handed the priceless advantage of the rails alley.
“They’re probably not used to it because they’ve been getting six, seven and eight in town lately but I think it should suit them down to the ground,” said Jason Sharp.
Junk Food Junkie will be the first to hit Wentworth Park, lining up in the first of four heats, where she is a $4.40 chance with TAB, behind in-form locals Gina Keeping and Fire On Ice, the $2.10 favourite and $3 second elect respectively.
The winner of seven of her 23 starts, Junk Food Junkie has the benefit of Wentworth Park experience on her side, having contested the Group 1 National Futurity heats back in January.
Devel Sixteen, which has won four from 23, is a $10 outsider in heat three.
“There’s not really much between them at all,” Sharp said.
“Devel Sixteen in particular has had a bad run with box draws. I think they’ve been running in harder races in Victoria, which some people mightn’t realise.
“Junk Food Junkie has had a look up there, which will hopefully help, and I wouldn’t have thought not having been there will worry Devel Sixteen too much. She went to Cranbourne without a look and handled herself pretty well.
“It will depend on how they step. If they step they’ve got a really good chance because they’re very hard dogs to catch.
“We’re just hoping they can run one/two and will be coming back for the final next week.
“The other problem is that we hope they can get up there with everything that’s going on with coronavirus!”
Another member of the Fernando Bale – Paua To Avoid litter, Run Like Jess, qualified for the final of the Group 2 McKenna Memorial (595m) at Sandown Park on Thursday night when running third in his heat.
Jason McKeown Photography