THE draws for the Group 1 Bathurst Gold Crown and Gold Tiara finals have added further intrigue to this Saturday night's feature races.
Trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton are still expected to start Divine State and My Sweetchilliphilly as odds-on favourites for the crown and tiara respectively, despite challenging draws for both contenders.
Divine State has once again drawn widest on the front row, as he did when winning his heat, while My Sweetchilliphilly will have to contend with her first career start off the second row.
Lithgow’s Geoff Simpson and his big crown hope Castalong Shadow have drawn gate six.
Tim Butt’s highly fancied New Zealand raider Lady Chatto has drawn the same gate for the tiara.
On the other hand, Bathurst trainers have benefited from the draws. Steve Turnbull's Maximus Red has booked the gate one spot for the crown and Amanda Turnbull's Quinzel has the same start for the tiara.
The news got better for Amanda Turnbull as all three of her tiara hopes will start off the front row (War Dan Bad Girl from gate three, Now Eye See from gate five).
Bernie Hewitt is another home trainer who fared well at last Saturday night’s draw. Brads Luck starts from two in the crown while Mackeral goes out from seven.
“The draw has really opened it up. In the crown Divine State has drawn a tough barrier. At this stage he will still start as favourite but that makes it a bit more challenging,” Bathurst Harness Racing Club CEO Danny Dwyer said.
“For the fillies the major chances have drawn in six [Lady Chatto], eight [Prophesy] and 10 [My Sweetchilliphilly], but some well performing locals have got good draws.”
Maximus Red is one of those local horses in a position to make a statement on Saturday night.
The American Ideal x Lettucereason gelding won his crown heat in a mile rate of 1:59.1 but will be venturing into unknown territory for the final.
“He hasn’t drawn the one before, in fact he’s drawn on the second row for all three of his starts so far, so it’s going to be interesting to see what gate speed he’s got,” Dwyer said.
“Geoff Simpson’s runner [Castalong Shadow] has drawn a little wide but he’s had some good experience so far.
“He might be able to take a sit outside the leader, just like he did in his debut start at Menangle. He still ran second to Divine State there by 20m but did a lot of work in that race.
“Divine State drew eight for his heat too where he had to work to get to the lead. He’s had three starts for three wins though … and all of them have been by big margins. On current form everything is looking good for him.”