BERNIE Hewitt gave himself the chance to add a second Gold Bracelet to his collection by producing a smart drive in the opening heat of the three-year-old fillies series on Monday afternoon.
In the gig behind Im With Lexy, a half-sister to Hewitt's 2015 Gold Bracelet winner Read About Lexy, the Georges Plains trainer-driver worked his way from last to first to snatch a narrow win.
It qualified him for the $50,000 Group 2 final on Saturday night, one of the feature races of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s annual Gold Crown Carnival.
“I’m really happy with the filly, it’s good to get one in the final,” Hewitt said.
“I was stewing on how to drive her with Amanda [Turnbull’s] horse inside her.
“It was going to be a truly run race, so I thought my only option was to go back.”
From a barrier eight draw, go back was exactly what Hewitt did in the opening stages of the heat at the Bathurst Paceway.
While Im With Lexy ($17.30) settled at the rear of the field, ahead of her favourite Miss Ami Sloy used her barrier one draw to take the early lead.
As she clocked opening splits of 29.8 and 30.4 seconds, Hewitt was waiting to make his move with his Roll With Joe x Lexys Laughing filly.
Finally he set off on a three-wide move with around 800 metres to run, and though the pace up front had lifted, Im With Lexy still made up ground.
She joined a line of four battling it out in the closing stages of the 2,260m heat and in the end got the nod by a head over Rocknroll Emma.
The favourite was a neck further back in third, just ahead of Olive Stride who made a strong charge down the sprint lane.
Im With Lexy rated 1:58.8 as she made it five wins from 21 starts.
If Hewitt, who later qualified two more fillies for the Gold Bracelet final, is to win the coveted series on Saturday night, it will mean getting the better of a Group 1 winner.
Dont Think Twice, who took out last year’s Gold Tiara final for two-year-old fillies, saluted in her bracelet heat on Monday with ease for trainer-driver Jason Grimson.
From a barrier nine draw, the $2.20 favourite sat back early and let others battle for the lead.
But as the bell sounded, Dont Think Twice rolled up into the death seat outside Royal Story.
On the back of a 28.9 third split, that pair gapped the chasing pack by 15m before Dont Think Twice kicked into another gear in the run for home. She won by 1¼m in a 1:55.7 mile rate.
“She ran super, she had to do a bit of work in the run, but she was too strong,” Grimson said. “Hopefully she can bounce off this one, if we get a [good] draw it will help. It will probably all come down to the draw.”