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Opinion

Harness racing selections: Saturday, January 2

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Roar Guru
1st January, 2021
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There are a couple of strong meetings at metro level this Saturday night in Melton and Menangle. Below are the best bets for the respective programs.

Melton

Best bet: Race 1, Number 1, Puntarno Stride
I am getting the best bet out of the way nice and early with this five-year-old, who looks well placed against this lot and the $2.60 or thereabouts on offer is more than acceptable because I can see him starting closer to even money. This horse has been plagued by bad gates recently, but has drawn the pole. He should hold up and lead. From there, he’ll be too good for them.

Next best: Race 2, Number 1, A Jewel In The Crown
Havehorsewilltravel should lead and will likely win. With him finding the front, I hope A Jewel In The Crown can get leaders back and if so, $2.80 to run top three looks a great bet. This horse was beaten a fair way first up in a strong race at Ballarat, but trial efforts prior to the resumption suggested she had come back well. She’ll run a much better race and I am happy to have a place bet.

Value: Race 9, Number 5, Our Thunder Buddy
There are a few question marks on some at the top of the market, and there are queries about this guy because he can be quite erratic with his manners. But his record in Melton is outstanding. When he brings his best, he’s a smart trotter with early speed. So if he can do everything right and find the front, something small each way at double figures is a bet in the last.

Harness racing

(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Menangle

Best bet: Race 7, Number 8, Drop The Hammer
He has the class and despite drawing wide, he does clearly look the horse to beat. This horse was good in defeat last week when getting the sit behind the speed and just failing to get there. He seems to race best when doing work in the run, and that is what he will be doing this time around, likely sitting outside the leader. He is very tough though and that will get him home.

Next best: Race 3, Number 1, Jay Ok
If he runs up to a recent trial effort, he should be winning. This horse is a very talented animal for Paul Fitzpatrick that has been kept on the fresh side, having not raced since November 14 in a Group 3 here when it was excellent from the back behind Lets Katchmeifucan. He draws the pole and if he can hold a forward enough spot, and not get buried on the pegs, he’s the one they have to beat.

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Value: Race 2, Number 1, Shanway
There is not a great deal of value at $6, but the price gap between it and The Croupier is far too great. Shanway has been electric in recent wins, finding a purple patch. This horse should get the sit behind The Croupier and get the perfect drag up. This field is stronger than what he has faced recently, but the set-up is ideal.