Racing: Watch out for youngsters

By Michael Guerin

Tonight's Cambridge harness meeting is brought to you by the number three.

Christen Me returns to Addington tomorrow night after a scorching 1:50.5 mile in Sydney. Photo / Gary Wild
Christen Me returns to Addington tomorrow night after a scorching 1:50.5 mile in Sydney. Photo / Gary Wild

Tonight's Cambridge meeting serves as a reminder to harness punters of the most important number for the remainder of the season - three.

Not that you should go on a frenzy of backing horses carrying saddle cloth three. But now is the time to start backing pacers and trotters who are 3-year-olds.

Autumn and winter racing has become a time of pillage for 3-year-olds since the handicapping regulations were changed five years ago, allowing them to only be penalised for every second win.

That, coupled with them dropping back into the grades after dipping their hooves into the big time, means they are the smartest punting in the colder months.

The Cambridge meeting tonight looks ready-made for a 3-year-old domination.

The hottest of these should be Mista Mara, in race four.

He got smashed in a Derby heat two starts ago but looked a different horse beating older pacers back in his own grade just a week later, even though that was on a premier night.

He is far more comfortable left-handed, as he showed winning a Sires' Stakes heat here before running third in that $150,000 final so should jog home tonight, with anything approaching $1.50 decent value.

Wingsonhai and Mollyz Luck show the 3-year-old lovefest works even for the trotters in race five, the first leg of the $25,000 Pick6.

They look lengths better than their rivals with Mollyz Luck having won four races but still assessed as a one-win trotter. Three of her wins have been from behind the mobile so it would surprise if one of the two 3-year-olds didn't win tonight's trot.

That theme continues in race nine where the second-term pacers will dominate betting again but Cilla's Boy deserves warm favouritism.

He finished third to Ohoka Punter in a Derby heat two starts ago before failing in the classic last start. He drops back about 100m in class tonight.

Stablemate Delightful Christian deserves favouritism for the dual feature of the night, the $18,000 Nevele R Fillies heat.

She won a similar race at Alexandra Park last Friday after having to settle for a trail mid-race.

Tonight, it will be a surprise if she doesn't lead and win over the same track and distance she won last season's Harness Jewels before being disqualified, a move which is still facing a legal challenge.

Delightful Christian actually seems to have strengthened through butting heads with freak filly Adore Me and now rates as the second-best of her crop.

Tonight's other stepping stone to bigger things is the $18,000 two-year-old Sires' Stakes heat, in which Sky Major will be looking to overcome a wide draw.

He was a brave third in the group one Cardigan Bay Stakes last start and if he can get handy without having to burn too much he should win.

Taking short odds about young horses drawn wide over a mile at Cambridge is a shortcut to the poorhouse, so punters would want $2.50 to get really serious about him.

Meanwhile, two of the boom pacers of Australasian harness racing continue their relentless seasons at Addington tomorrow night.

Ohoka Punter has drawn the ace in the Flying Stakes, the lead-up to next week's New Zealand Derby.

Christen Me will step up to open-class in his first start back in New Zealand since pacing a 1:50.5 mile winning the Chariots of Fire in Sydney on March 3.

- NZ Herald

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