CHRIS Frisby’s Our Uncle Sam shapes up as Bathurst’s best chance of finding an Inter Dominion Pacing Series Final starting spot while the dream of another appearance in the Group 1 feature is fading fast for former winner Steve Turnbull.
Our Uncle Sam was seventh in Tuesday night’s second heat – down four places from his first run – but still sits on the cusp of a finals appearance, at 14th in the standings with just Saturday’s Cranbourne heat remaining.
Turnbull’s hopes Joes Star Of Mia and Conviction were sixth and ninth respectively in their races and are going to need huge turnarounds to reach the final.
Amanda Turnbull’s chance Ellmers Image improved four spots from her opening heat result to finish sixth but it’s going to take even more to gain a place in the $500,000 decider.
Wrappers Delight ($1.80 favourite) beat home Tiger Tara ($10.30) in the first of Tuesday’s races after the pair led the field into the straight.
Our Uncle Sam had made a three-wide move in the run to draw up alongside the leading pair but couldn't match them on the run home.
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He battled on gamely, as did Ellmers Image along the pegs, to finish mid-field.
Bathurst Harness Racing Club CEO Danny Dwyer said Our Uncle Sam has had to battle through some tough runs thus far.
“Our Uncle Sam’s heats probably haven’t been run to suit him. In his run on Saturday he had to go a fair bit earlier than he would have liked because the horse in front of him was gone going up the back straight.
“In Tuesday’s race the sectional times didn’t suit the backmarkers. It was always going to be hard for any horse at the back of the field to make a move but he did that. I think he deserves to make it.
“The first round Steve and Amanda’s horses were hampered by some of the work they had to do in their runs, particuarly Joes Star Of Mia.
“He had a torrid run in that first round but he still ran a good race. That was the same with Ellmers Image and Conviction who have had good races.
“Joes Star Of Mia seemed to go a bit rough when he was pulled out in his last run.”
It’s in the Inter Dominion Trotting Series where a Bathurst connection appears most likely to gain a start in a final.
The Graham Bullock owned and bred Red Hot Tooth improved one spot from her opening heat result to come home fifth on Tuesday.
The Australian Trotting Mare of the Year winner hasn’t quite discovered her form from earlier this year but is still 11th in the rankings and in line to start the $150,000 final.
“She’s run some good races in the heats and has a great record overall,” Dwyer said.
“She’s won some major races and I’m hoping she can get through and qualify. It would be a great thrill for Graham to have a runner in the Inter Dominion Final.”
Conviction starts the first pacers race at Cranbourne from gate three and Our Uncle Sam will be tested from gate eight.
Joes Star Of Mia gets the one for the following event and Ellmers Image starts the final race from six.
Red Hot Tooth landed the six in the second of Saturday’s trotting races, looking to hold her top 12 place.