Training partnership hold all the aces for Breeders Crown harness card at Melton

EMERGING youngster Major Moth is the standout winning chance of a staggering 23 runners for one stable at Saturday night’s $2 million Breeders Crown finals card at Tabcorp Park Melton.

That’s the word from Clayton Tonkin, who along with his partner Emma Stewart, looks set to dominate the stellar 10 race card, boasting eight Group 1 races and the other two at Group 2 level.

Tonkin and Stewart have the favourite and/or second favourite in a remarkable six of the 10 races.

It promises to be a huge tonic for the stable after losing potential superstar Ride High to a tendon injury just days out from the Victoria Cup last month. They hope he’ll be back racing within six months.

Tonkin said Major Moth’s draw (gate one) combined with his untapped “X-factor” made him not only the one to beat in the $300,000 2YO Pacing Colts and Geldings Final, but the horse the stable was most confident about heading into the night.

“We really set the team for this series and it’s great to get so many through to the finals,” Tonkin said.

“We’ve got some great chances, but I’d say Major Moth is the best of them. Act Now is a lovely horse and will probably lead in that race, but Major Moth just has that X-factor about him.”

One of the most fascinating clashes comes up in the $300,000 2YO Pacing Fillies’ Final where Tonkin and Stewart have a staggering seven of the 12 finalists, but most think it’s between likely leader Tough Tilly and the unbeaten Ladies In Red.

“The draw (gate two) really gives Tough Tilly her chance this week. Ladies In Red (gate 10) is a super filly and probably our best, but if Tough Tilly leads and goes as good as she can, Ladies In Red will have to do extraordinary things to beat her. I’d lean to Tough Tilly from the draw,” Tonkin said.

Tonkin pointed to Loorim Lake, who has firmed from $9 to $5 with TAB, in the 3YO Pacing Colts and Geldings Final and three-year-old Techys Angel ($12) as major players in their races.

“I thought Loorim Lake was enormous last week when everything went against him. I’m still really confident he’ll give this a huge shake with any luck from the bad draw,” he said.

“Techys Angel might be out best roughie of the night. She’s always worked like a nice filly and she really put it together and showed it at the races in the semi. If she runs up to that, she’s right in it.”

Tonkin was more guarded with the stable’s unbeaten three-year-old trotter Cover Of Darkness, TAB’s $2.80 favourite in race two.

“I’m sure he’s got as much ability as any of them, but he’s so inexperienced compared to them and it’s by far his biggest test. I’m looking forward to seeing how he measures up,” he said.

The night starts on a high with Australia’s best pacer and recent Victoria Cup winner Lochinvar Art facing a serious test from an awful draw in the Group 2 Crown 4YO Entires and Geldings Final.

Hurricane Harley looks the leader from the pole, while Lochinvar Art has drawn outside of the back row.

The last time they had similarly contrasting draws, Hurricane Harley led throughout and upset Lochinvar Art at Bendigo on September 19.

But since then Lochinvar Art has raced three times for as many wins, including the record-breaking Victoria Cup triumph against the strongest field assembled in Australasia this season.

Lochinvar Art has firmed slightly with TAB from $1.80 into $1.75 with Hurricane Harley out from $2.60 to $2.70.

Importantly, the race starts at 6.04pm AEDT which is right in the heart of prime thoroughbreds viewing given the huge Railways Stakes meeting at Ascot in Perth.

Sky Racing Active will have an uninterrupted five-and-a-half hours of Breeders Crown night coverage from 5.45pm and Sky Racing 1 will join much of coverage throughout the night.

Originally published asBreeders Crown Finals Series

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