All harness racing eyes will be fixated on Gloucester Park in Perth tonight as the first heats of the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship are staged.
Avenel-trained superstars Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay and Rochester-owned Guaranteed will carry the hopes of a northern Victoria and Victorian win in the lucrative series.
In early betting Hectorjayjay is a $2.70 chance to go all the way in the series and Lennytheshark, who is defending the title, the second favourite at $3.30.
Both are odds-on to win their heats tonight.
They are the only single figures hopes at this stage with the Mark Purdon-trained and driven Smolda third favourite at $15 and the Gary Hall Sr-trained Beaudiene Boaz (18) the best backed of the locals.
Guaranteed is a 15-1 chance to win the final.
David Aiken, trainer of Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay, is happy with his pair of stars leading into tonight’s heats.
He has assessed the reigning champion Lennytheshark equal to what he was when he took the title.
Both the Aiken-trained runners have drawn barrier eight in the heats over 2130m and worth $75000 and the trainer says that has made their tasks tougher.
The Chris Alford-driven Lennytheshark will be first to step out in heat one at 9.25pm where his main danger, the Rochester-owned Guaranteed has drawn the pole for top reinsman Gavin Lang.
Hectorjayjay, who will be driven by Josh Aiken, tackles the third heat at 12.35pm.
Hectorjayjay’s main rival could be the NSW pacer Bling It On who accounted for Lennytheshark in the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton on November 12 and who has barrier two tonight.
- Gus Underwood