SA TROTS - Southern Cross Finals Night Preview

Trainer Les Harding has been synonymous with feature race harness racing success for more than 50 years and will be looking to add another title on Saturday at Globe Derby Park.

Harding trains the talented Bay Jim Major which will come from gate one in the Listed $30,000 Alabar Southern Cross Series Final (1800m) for two-year-old colts and geldings.

Already, the gelding has been the subject of sensational betting support to win the final.

The TAB opened Bay Jim Major at $4 but persistent backing pushed his quote into $2.25.

Favourite for the race is the Emma Stewart-trained No Notthebuttons which opened at $1.60 and has eased to $1.80 with the backing for the pole runner.

The pre-cursor to the Southern Cross series in South Australia was the Sires Stakes races and that is where Harding has success.

The wonderful mare Sorrento Star, trained and driven by Harding won the two, three and four-year-old versions from 1996 through 1998.

Also in 1998, Harding trained the filly Tackahashi to win the Sires for two-year-old fillies, driven by his son Matthew.

Since moving to the Southern Cross, Harding has had just the one success, in 2011, with Fistfullofdollars, driven by another son David.

“Gate one gives Bay Jim Major his chance,” Harding said. “Barrier one is certainly better than 10.

“He has kept improving and he has all the attributes to make a good horse.

“He has gate speed, has a sprint and can do it tough.”

Bay Jim Major will be driven by Mark Norman who knows the gelding perfectly having driven him in all nine starts which have resulted in four wins and five seconds.

Victory would be a great result for South Australia as Bay Jim Major was bred by Stephen Norman at his Allenby Lodge Stud and is by his resident stallion Major Secret.

In his heat, the gelding also came from barrier one and was able to lead comfortably.

Norman was able to get away with a moderate first half of the last 1600 metres before increasing the tempo over final quarters dashing home in 27.8 seconds for an overall rate of 2:01.3.

Bay Jim Major does have a best winning mile rate of 1:56.1 so he can go much quicker.

No Notthebuttons did it tough in his heat sitting parked and winning, and from gate two, might be forced to do the same again in the final.

Pacemaker Tembie made the heat more truly run with an overall rate of 1:57.7.

The win was No Notthebutton’s first run for two months so he should strip even fitter in the final.

The final could develop into a two-horse war over the final lap.

Watching all the action should be David Smith, on Star Man which is drawn behind Bay Jim Major and will take the trail.

If there is action on, Star Man might just be able to finish over the top of the front pair.

No one would begrudge octogenarian trainer John Conry a victory with his two-year-old which is also by Major Secret.

Six of the eight races at Globe Derby Park on Saturday are Southern Cross Series finals.

The Alabar Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies final (1800m) should result in another great clash with Tilly Jayne, trained by Alyce Finnis and driven by her husband Jayson coming from six on the front row while the brilliant Miss Idaho, trained and driven by Ryan Hryhorec, has to come from gate 10 on the second row.

The Finnis’ also have a good chance in the Sky Racing Three-year-old Pacing Southern Cross Series Final (2230m) with Lethal Louise, which has drawn barrier one.

Trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec will drive Jamaican Rock which will come from gate two while Corey Johnson has picked up the ride on stablemate Hes All Torque which has drawn barrier seven.

Bishop George, All The Trix and Delightfull Tammy look very hard to beat in their respective finals.

 Story: HRSA Media

Photo: Walter Bulyga