Petstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, Gr1, Ballarat, Saturday

This weekend’s major harness racing action comes from Ballarat and is their Group 1Pacing Cup with a whopping £125, 000 in the kitty. A field of 12 are due to stand their ground and there are several that could be selected.

It all went wrong for Village Of Dreams, who had a nightmare passage at Horsham in their big cup race last time out, and he is better than that. Before then his figures were impressive and if that run last time out had not materialised then there is every chance that he would be coming here as favourite in the harness racing betting. He is ideally drawn to get a quick getaway from the mobile in G1, and really could take some pegging back as, if he starts well, might not see another rival. However, this is the biggest race that he has contested so far and if he is to cling on, may need a messy first turn in behind.

The SA Cup and Bendigo Cup winner Smoken Up for trainer/driver Lance Justice comes here in flying form and is a danger to all. He must have a huge chance of notching up a quick cup hatrick, although there is the concern that after two fairly tough races he might just run out of steam. Nevertheless, there is no horse in this line-up that can boast what he can and although he’ll probably start favourite, will probably not disappoint supporters.

Stunnin Cullen has been brought over from New Zealand to take his chance and has been in winning form of late over there. He is also looking for a quick-fire treble and he could well be up to the task although has an unfavourable draw, and the same goes for Standelle, a very consistent individual who is used to racing in top races for the Kerryn Manning team, but goes from the second row and there are plenty of almost equal performers ahead on that first row.

Smoken Up will be taken here to beat Stunning Cullen as the early pace likely to be set by Village Of Dreams might just take its toll late on. If Gavin Lang who drives Village Of Dreams can slow it down a bit half-way, get them stacked up and then kick again, it could be a different story though!