Star mare Encipher snares a berth in the worlds richest harness race - The Eureka

THE resurgence of South Australian harness racing has been given another boost with star mare Encipher snaring a berth in the world’s richest harness race, the $2.1mil TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 2.

Kadina-bred and owned pacer Encipher will team with the strongly SA-connected slot holders Aaron Bain Racing and Summit Bloodstock to run in the 2400m feature.

“We’re so proud and excited to bring together a truly SA package with Encipher being bred and owned in SA. She’s raced at Globe Derby five times for as many wins and three of those have been feature races, including the Oaks last year,” Bain said.

“Things are looking up in SA after the recent prize money increases and having a mare for the state to get behind in the first running of the TAB Eureka, a race that has the whole industry buzzing, is fantastic.”

The Tyson Linke owned-and-bred Encipher has won 15 – three at Group 1 level – of just 25 starts with another seven seconds and a third. She’s banked a thumping $570,799.

“This is quite surreal, to be honest,” Linke said. “I couldn’t believe it when I got the call from Aaron. I love that we’re all coming together as a South Australian thing into the world’s richest (harness) race.

“This mare was born on our farm, has done a lot of her feature racing here and she proudly flies the SA flag everywhere she goes.”

Linke said teaming with the SA-based Aaron Bain Racing and Summit Bloodstock added another layer of emotion to the TAB Eureka deal.

“I’ve known Aaron for a long time and Jake (Webster, from Summit Bloodstock) used to drive horses for us, so it adds another special layer to it all.

“This mare has done the most wonderful things for us already and to think she’s going be in the first TAB Eureka – and maybe the only mare it in – is quite a privilege.

“I’ve never had a runner at Menangle, either. What a way to break my duck.”

Encipher gives champion Ballarat training duo Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin their second confirmed runner in the TAB Eureka.

They also have Australia’s standout three-year-old The Lost Storm, who boasts 10 wins from just 12 starts and brilliantly won the Group 1 Queensland Derby at his most recent run. He will run in the TAB slot.

“We’re so glad Encipher has got a slot. She’s been such a wonderful mare across three seasons and she really deserves it,” Stewart said.

“We were thrilled to get The Lost Storm I and now to have Encipher as well makes for a really exciting night.”

With regular driver Kate Gath committed to Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave in the TAB Eureka, champion NSW driver Luke McCarthy has been booked for Encipher.

“Obviously we’d have loved Kate, but she’s got her own horse in the race so we’ve gone for the best in the business, especially around Menangle, in Luke McCarthy,” Bain said

Author: Adam Hamilton
Pictures: Stuart McCormick