Final field and barrier draw for $500,000 Hunter Cup
Team McCarthy has the barrier draws to continue their fantastic strike rate from last Hunter Cup at the $500,000 remaining in Melton on Saturday night.
Belinda and Luke McCarthy have won two of the last three Hunter Cups with the now-retired King Of Swing.
Last year they conquered the Quinella as Spirit Of St. Louis rode the best race of his career to take a fantastic second place behind King Of Swing.
Spirit Of St.Louis is back and looking to do even better, scoring a perfect draw in Barriere while Luke McCarthy was also delighted with a nine-goal for Expensive Ego.
“We’re happy about everything after these draws,” said Luke. “Spirit Of Louis has the speed to take advantage of gate one and the way he’s driving we’re keen to keep the lead.
“He’s looking straight back to his best times with his two recent wins at Menangle. The cutting times were good. He has a big chance this week.”
Spirit Of St. Louis was priced $26 in the Hunter Cup last month but is a $4.50 favorite for the pole draw.
Pricey Ego was expensive in Victoria with nine starts in the state yielding just one win. He has won just one out of five starts at Melton.
But McCarthy remains undeterred, insisting a nice back row draw (goal nine) is just what he needs.
“He’s had to do all the work in Melbourne so many times and we want to drive him with a sit. The draw is perfect for that,” he said.
“We think it flies and on the rare occasions we’ve driven it with a seat, it’s raced superbly.”
Veteran Kiwi trainer Ray Green was undeterred by a wide draw on the front row (six) with Copy That, which remains a $2.30 favorite from barrier six.
“There are a couple of quick starters under him, but that doesn’t worry me. He should be able to keep his balance and make his own luck from there,” Green said.
“I would prefer that to the back row, where you are more at the mercy of others.”
Green ranks the much-improved Honolua Bay as Copy That’s greatest threat.
“I loved his run at Ballarat behind Copy That. He seems to be getting better from run to run and drew a pretty good draw (four)” he said.
Honolua Bay is one of three cup runners for powerhouse Emma Stewart and stable Clayton Tonkin. The others are Mach Dan (seven) and Hurricane Harley (eight).
Inter Dominion winner I Cast No Shadow pulled barrier three and is a $31 shot for trainer Jason Grimson, who also has a $17 shot at Major Meister in the back row race (12).
Other Star Kiwi Raider Old Town Road faces a big task from outside the back row (Gate 13).
Victoria Cup winner Rock N Roll Doo, who has survived races and struggled to be at his best, is safely held off barrier 10 at $11.
HUNTER CUP DRAW
Front row: Spirit of St. Louis 1, Torrid Saint 2, I Cast No Shadow 3, Honolua Bay 4, Triple Eight 5, Copy That 6, Mach Dan 7.
Back row: Hurricane Harley 8, Expensive Ego 9, Rock N Roll Doo 10, Cranbourne (emerg) 11, Major Master 12, 13 Old Town Road.
* Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor who writes about harness racing for News Corp
Originally released as the Final Field and Barrier Draw for the $500,000 Hunter Cup