Ignatius, Tasmania’s superstar three-year-old pacer, will run the red-hot favourite in the $150,000 Group 1 New South Wales Breeders Challenge on Sunday at Menangle Park.
The James Rattray trained and driven Roll With Joe-Ashkalini gelding has enjoyed a sensational season winning eight races straight, taking its career record to an incredible 13 victories from 14 starts.
The Lyrae Graham owned champion youngster has amassed $172,000 in a career that commenced in April last year, before completing a winning hat-trick by winning the $20,000 Elderslie Horse Care and Spelling Sweepstakes Final.
Nine days after his Sweepstakes success Ignatius suffered his first and only defeat when a luckless third in a heat of the New South Wales Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Series at Menangle Park before bouncing back in the Semi-Final, running a mile rate 0f 1:52.6.
Harness Racing fans around the country sat up and took notice of the scintillating time and were then mesmerised by the incredible 1:51.3 recorded in a memorable Final success.
Ignatius’ three-year-old campaign kicked off with an effortless win at Devonport in January followed by an equally dominant victory in Launceston.
Ignatius has stamped himself a superstar with a further six New South Wales wins in a row including a sensational record-breaking victory at Penrith, dashing clear to score by 14.7-metres over Picard and recording a slashing mile rate of 1:53.6 despite doing all the work in the death seat.
Picard has bounced back with wins in the Heat and Semi-Final of the Breeders Challenge and is second favourite behind Ignatius for today’s Final.
A sobering thought for Picard’s connections is while second elect, he is rated a $13 chance while Ignatius is quoted at $1.10 for Group 1 glory and a winners cheque of $90,000.
Ignatius has drawn three on the front line and appears destined to add another Group 1 success to his already amazing career.
Today’s New South Wales Breeders Challenge Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Final is one of seven Group 1 races on the Menangle Park programme and is scheduled to start at 14.47.
Words by Shane Yates.