Harness racing’s young gun Jack Callaghan has snared the prized pick-up drive on Beyond Delight (Bettors Delight) in Saturday night’s (Jun. 2) $305,000 Group 1 Rising Sun (2138m) at Albion Park.
Trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin had to find a new driver with Beyond Delight’s regular partner, Greg Sugars, committed to his own horse, Chariots Of Fire winner Better Eclipse.
“We’ve snapped-up Jack (Callaghan). He’s driven a bit for us before. We really like him,” Stewart said.
Callaghan added: “It’s a big thrill. It’s a fantastic race. I was looking forward to watching it and now I’m driving in it.”
Beyond Delight, who has barrier five, is one of the best four-year-olds in Australasia with 10 wins from 19 starts and, most recently in the Group 1 Australian Gold 4YO Final at Menangle on May 7.
Like champion stablemate Ladies In Red, he will go into Saturday night’s feature first-up.
“We’re not worried about that. It was always the plan. They’ve had a couple of trials and are where we want them,” Stewart said.
Ladies In Red is a commanding $2.50 favourite despite the four-year-old mare facing the “boys” for the first time in her 22-start career, which has returned 18 wins and four seconds.
Under the preferential barrier draw conditions of the race, Ladies In Red will start from barrier three. Nathan Jack has the drive.
“With lots of mares you’d worry about taking on the boys, but not her,” Clayton Tonkin said. “She’s so fast and strong, too. I’ve got no doubt she’ll be very, very competitive with the boys.”
Significantly, Amazing Dream was the only four-year-old mare in the race when she won the inaugural Rising Sun last year.
The preferential draw also helps the trio of three-year-olds in the field: Ripp (gate one), Leap To Fame (two) and the emergency Tims A Trooper (eight, inside back).
“I’m glad we were first to pick a barrier of the three-year-olds because it makes a big difference getting the inside,” Ripp’s trainer Bernie Hewitt said. “He just didn’t handle the (tight) Redcliffe track last start. Getting back to the bigger track from a draw like tells me you’ll see the best of him this week.”
Leap To Fame is a fascinating runner for top local trainer-driver Grant Dixon.
He looked a world-beater winning the Group 1 NSW Derby in early March, but goes into this first-up and with only a couple of trials under his belt.
Sugars was philosophical when it came to Better Eclipse’s outside back row draw.
“The other drivers have got more thinking to do in the early part of the race than I have,” he grinned. “All we can do is focus on how happy we are with the horse and he’s in great order.”
For complete fields, click here.
by Adam Hamilton, for Newscorp