For many of the horses racing at Alexandra Park tonight this is as good as it gets.
The best stakes in the country, equivalent to the peak of summer, but not having to take on the superstar younger horses because most are in winter hibernation.
Winter at The Park is the ideal season for horses who wouldn’t shine at the premier meetings to try to earn a year’s training fees without a Cup horse in sight.
That is the story for most racing there tonight and it makes you wonder why more trainers don’t set their lesser horses for the off-season. Maybe some day they will.
But among the brave battlers and untapped youngsters tonight there will be a horse with a totally different aim. His name is Perfect Stride and he is trying to win his way to the Breeders Crown.
That A$300,000 finale comes up in Victoria in late August and with the news the big name babies from the Jewels aren’t going, Perfect Stride now looms as a serious contender.
His trainer Ray Green knows what it takes to win the Breeders Crown juvenile, he did it with King Of Swing a couple of seasons ago, being smart enough to go where New Zealand’s elite weren’t.
With big-spending owner Emilio Rosati always keen to chase the glamour races, Green is aiming Perfect Stride at the same Aussie pot of gold.
“The owners are keen and I think he is good enough to be very competitive,” says Green.
“The series is a bit more challenging this year because the heats and semis are also in Victoria but that also means some other horses from here aren’t going.
“So if he races as well in the next few weeks as we expect then he will go.”Perfect Stride is the younger brother of WA superstar Chicago Bull and has the family ability.
He had the natural speed to go with the better early season two-year-olds and missing the autumn features wouldn’t have done him any harm.
Punters who took the long odds-on about him at Cambridge last week would have felt sick when first a hydraulic malfunction on the mobile meant his race was a moving star (admittedly a good one) and then Perfect Stride had a torrid time being attacked in front.
He only just went down and Green says he is trained on well so he should be winning race five, even against southerner Divinia Bellezza, who stunned when second to Elle Mac in the Jewels two weeks ago.
Green loves the winter racing stakes are thinks Lindi Lincoln (race two), The Empress (race four) and Man Of Action (race 10) all have good each way chances.
But for many harness punters the focus of the night will be Addington’s Uncut Gems meeting, featuring the unbeaten pride of Southland racing U May Cullect.
He meets two good horses in Triple Eight and Classic Brigade but he should simply be too fast.