Big three set for weekend action
July 25, 2012 09:24:25 UK
Three of the big guns in southern hemisphere pacing - Sushi Sushi, Majestic Mach and Smoken Up - will be the centre of Australian harness racing attention when they compete at East Coast venues this weekend.
Sushi Sushi has drawn wide on the back line in Melbourne's Melton Cup second heat (2240m) on Friday night, but the brilliant four-year-old should be too classy for rivals.
Unbeaten youngster Majestic Mach will wind up his juvenile campaign when he contests the Queensland 2YO Colts and Geldings Final (1600m) at Brisbane's Albion Park on Saturday night.
Australian Pacer of the Year Smoken Up faces a major test, which could decide his immediate future, when he starts at Saturday night's Albion Park meeting and attempts to bounce back from a shock defeat.
The Feddy Taiba-trained Sushi Sushi has a tally of 24 wins and 10 places from 36 starts.
He was having his first race for almost three months when racing outside the leader and winning with authority over 1720m at Melton on 13th July. The gelding, to again be driven by Greg Sugars on Friday night, is expected to be fitter for his second-up race.
Majestic Mach has won each of his eight races and he is unlikely to be troubled by having drawn wide at gate seven on Saturday night.
The gelding, trained and driven by Grant Dixon, emulated Sushi Sushi and also took up a position outside the leader in his last race.
It was a 1609m event on the Gold Coast last Friday week and Majestic Mach drew away to score by 3.4 metres.
Saturday night's Blacks A Fake Stakes (2680m) at Albion Park will feature a re-match between Smoken Up, Motu Crusader and OK Courage.
Motu Crusader was racing first-up and started at 50/1 when he charged from home from fourth at the bell to win last Saturday's Sunshine Sprint (1660m) at Albion Park.
The John McCarthy-trained four-year-old narrowly beat OK Courage and odds-on favourite Smoken Up.
McCarthy's son Todd will retain the drive on Motu Crusader, a winner at 14 of 30 starts.
Smoken Up appeared set to win when he led last Saturday, but he wilted in the final 50m. The veteran had scored his 62nd victory in 113 starts when winning first-up over 1720m at Melton on July 6.
A legion of Smoken Up fans will hope he can make amends tonight and show the zest to be a force in Australian pacing again next season.
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