Two of Australia’s biggest harness owners will have to settle for watching their stars tackle one of NZ’s greatest racedays from home.
The suspension of the travel bubble between Victoria and NZ has robbed Merv Butterworth and Jean Feiss from being trackside at Cambridge for Sunday’s stellar Harness Jewels raceday, which features nine Group 1s.
“I feel like a caged lion,” said Butterworth, who races NZ’s best pacer Copy That with his wife Meg.
“He’s the best horse we’ve raced in a lifetime of owning horses and we haven’t been able to see him race in the flesh for over a year now.
“We’d really been counting down to this one after missing so many of his big races.”
Adding to Butterworth’s frustration is a horror barrier draw for Copy That, outside the back row (gate 13), which sets him a huge task against quality rivals Bad To The Bone ($4, gate five) and South Coast Arden ($5, seven).
“Bad draws are hard to overcome, especially at Cambridge, but he’s a special horse this one so anything’s possible,” Butterworth said.
Melbourne-based Feiss, who races NZ’s other standout pacer Self Assured, has her latest star True Fantasy running as a dominant $1.12 favourite in the Jewels 2YO Fillies’ final.
“A big part of my enjoyment in the game comes from going to watch my horses races. It’ll be sad to miss her ‘grand final’ in what’s been a great first season,” Feiss said.
Aussie fans will be watching Sunday’s Jewels card – which brings together the best pacers and trotters from all age groups in NZ – closer than ever with so many of the big names set to come to Queensland for the enhanced TAB Constellations Carnival at Albion Park next month.
Copy That and NZ’s superstar three-year-old Krug, who is a $1.55 favourite to win his Jewels final, will clash at Albion Park in the new $250,000 Group The Rising Sun on July 10.
Champion mare Amazing Dream, already a winner of the Auckland Cup this season and $1.60 to win her Jewels final on Sunday, is bound for the new $100,000 Group The Golden Girl at Albion Park on July 17.
“We’ll be glued to Sky (Racing) on Sunday with so many of the potential big guns of the Constellations in action at Jewels. It’s so exciting to have them heading our way,” Racing Queensland’s David Brick said.
It’s an early start Sunday for Aussie fans with the first of the Jewels finals on Sky Racing at 10.17am AEST.
Originally published asLockdown dashes harness owners’ Jewel plans
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