Chitura will attempt to continue her brilliant recent form and boost her Harness Jewels prospects at Timaru on Wednesday.
The Steven McRae trained pacer sits twelfth in the four-year-old mares rankings for the category’s $150,000 final at Addington, ahead of competing in a junior drivers’ event.
John Morrison has been charged with helping Chitura secure a hat-trick of wins from barrier 9 over 2000m.
It is a tricky alley that McRae thinks his mare can overcome.
“I think she should be able to work in that race and still be competitive.”
“And she is probably going to have to from the draw.”
“It will be a bit tactical, there looks to be a bit of gate speed there, too.”
“He has got a few options there, Johnny.”
Chitura goes in to Wednesday’s race after producing a brilliant win in the Southern Belle Speed Series final at Winton, earlier this month.
She and driver, Craig Thornley, were left three-wide without cover from the 800m, but that did not stop Chitura from powering past horses that had enjoyed more economical runs.
The impressive victory was a sign that the Changeover mare was at the peak of her powers, McRae said.
“We were not too surprised with the win, were we more worried that it was her first run for a while.”
“I have always thought a wee bit of her, but she has been frustrating at times.”
“I don’t know if it is just a Changeover thing, but she has taken a bit of time.”
“She really seems in the zone the last two or three months.”
Though Wednesday’s race carries a modest $9000 stake, its result could majorly reshap the four-year-old mares rankings for the Harness Jewels.
Divinia Bellezza holds the highest ranking of the horses in the race at number six on the leader board.
Be Mine Tonight can firm up her chances of making the $150,000 4YO Diamond by improving on her 11th place in the race rankings.
Sweet Mary goes in to the event in 18th position and about $7000 behind Chitura.
Flyin Milly Mac and Lilac Star look to have faint hopes of making Harness Jewels day, but could boost them with victory.
The McRae stable will give Forbury Park debutante winner, Art’s Dash, his second start in rating 40-55 company at Timaru.
Though he is not likely to face the testing and same rain-soaked conditions, the standing start event should to be a more difficult task than his Dunedin debut.
“He was pretty professional and his manners are his biggest asset,” McRae
“Hopefully he can put himself in a good spot and be competitive.”
“But it is hard to jump from a maiden at Forbury up in to the next grade.”
McRae will also start Thunderfromthethrone in a standing start event at Timaru.
The horse brings a patchy form line in to the race, but can improve on that, McRae said.
“He has been pretty frustrating, he has a few little glitches in his gait.”
“We have changed a bit of gear and shoeing around this week and he has seemed a lot happier.”