Top Menangle driver Luke McCarthy.
CHAMPION reinsman Luke McCarthy denied star filly Anntonia a Group 1 success when she contested a Breeders Challenge final as a two-year-old.
That was 12 months ago and now McCarthy hopes to square the ledger with Menangle trainer David Thorn by taking the reins behind Anntonia in tonight’s Breeders Challenge semi-final for the three-year-old fillies.
And even if he does get the ace filly through to the final, it will be a case of ‘job done’ for McCarthy as he will step aside and hand the drive to Jack Trainor, who returns from suspension to handle Anntonia in the $150,000 final.
McCarthy drove Soho Almasi to victory when Anntonia was beaten by four metres but Thorn’s filly has now strung together 10 wins and seven placings from just 17 starts and will be the shortest-priced favourite of the night when she tackles the second semi-final for the three-year-old fillies.
Anntonia may have to use some of her gate speed to get across and into the early action after drawing gate eight, although she will come into gate six when the two emergencies are withdrawn, as expected.
Thorn admitted his stable star had given him a couple of headaches after she finished a disappointing third first-up at Penrith, before scoring a soft win in 1:53 to qualify for tonight’s semi-final.
“I had a few issues with her tying up after the Penrith race,” Thorn told National Trotguide on-line.
“But her win here at Menangle last week was better, although she’s probably not as sharp in the wet.
“I was still happy enough with her the other day, her time was good on that wet track and she should be really hard to beat tonight.”
Thorn explained that the really good horses had to be 100 per cent right and nothing less or they just can’t beat the other good ones.
“It’s hard to line up some of these horses from Bathurst for gate speed.
“I thought Machs Legacy might lead and hopefully will hand up the front, as she did last week.
“We would love to find the front.
“We’re lucky Luke [McCarthy] didn’t have one in this series.
“It’s very hard to find someone to drive them when they know they can’t drive them in the final.
“This worked out well as Luke didn’t have a drive and he was happy enough to try and get her through to the final for us.”