Aussie breakthrough at Jewels on the cards

By Michael Guerin

Arms Of An Angel is on target to become the first Australian-trained winner of a Harness Jewels.

Because all the surprise package of the entire harness racing season needs to do is maintain the form that saw her run third in Sunday's Miracle Mile and the four-year-old Diamond at Cambridge on June 4 should be hers.

Arms Of An Angel became the first Australian horse confirmed for this season's Jewels when her connections accepted their invite last night.

That comes just two days after she paced a near world record for a four-year-old mare with her 1:48.1 time in the Mile, having done all the work in front to set up Have Faith In Me's 1:47.5 Australasian record.

It continued a stark turnaround from her New Zealand form where she was a handy two-win mare before being transformed after joining NSW trainer Shane Tritton.

Tritton says Arms Of An Angel has come through Sunday's gutbuster in tremendous fashion and he can't wait to bring her back to New Zealand.

"We had a horse at the Jewels last season and loved it," said Tritton.

"We are definitely keen to come back and we might even look at coming over for the Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park beforehand."

Not only has Arms Of An Angel been transformed but so too has the four-year-old Diamond at the Jewels, with favourites The Orange Agent (out injured) and Fight For Glory (retired) gone, leaving a vastly weakened division, probably led by Start Dreaming, who still needs to earn her way into the race.

No Australian-trained horse has won a Jewels and Tritton admits the challenge is a thrill for him and driver Lauren Panella, with the couple getting married just a week before the race. Meanwhile, the first clash of superstar three-year-old pacers Waikiki Beach and Lazarus won't be in next week's Woodlands Northern Derby at Alexandra Park after all.

Waikiki Beach, who remained unbeaten at start 16 in the NSW Derby on Sunday, was withdrawn from the Northern Derby last night, as was stablemate Dream About Me.

That leaves the All Stars stable with Lazarus, Chase The Dream and Stroke Of Luck in the Derby.

The uncertainty over which horses would be starting in the classic has seen TAB bookies reluctant to open a market and they will now not release one until after the final field is known on Monday.

- NZ Herald

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