Trainer-driver Brad Hewitt.
THE $100,000 TAB Regional Championship finals are shaping as a “Hewitt-fest” in two of the four finals to be run next week.
Leading Bathurst trainer-driver Bernie Hewitt has qualified two horses, Rock Fisherman and Crazy Shippo for the Western Final at his home track.
And in a proud moment for Bernie, his daughter Gemma has also qualified two for the same Group 1 feature after Keayang Kreuzer and Kash Us Back also won their heats, ensuring the family would be well represented next Wednesday.
Meanwhile Bernie’s nephew, Brad Hewitt, is also hoping to bring home the Metropolitan final after steering three horses, Send It, Im Bruce Almighty and Raging Sea through to their big $100,000 final at Menangle next weekend.
Brad is expected to take the steer on Send It, a four-year-old gelding he trains for several high-profile owners, including Canberra Raiders’ star centre Jarrod Croker.
That will leave Brad’s father David to find drivers for two that he trains, owns and bred.
He’ll probably partner Im Bruce Almighty, a son of Pet Rock while Raging Sea, a consistent gelding by Western Terror will need a new driver.
Raging Sea might be one of the surprise packets of the final as he has finished just behind the winner in both his qualifying heats and has six wins and six placings from 18 starts.
No-one would argue that Belinda and Luke McCarthy are the team to beat in the Metropolitan final after two of their stable up-and-comers, Muscle Factory and Ilikemebettor, scored impressive heat wins.
Luke will almost certainly drive Muscle Factory, an easy winner of his heat in a leisurely 1:58.7 last week, while young Hunter Valley reinsman Jack Callaghan, now working with team McCarthy, may score the drive on Ilikemebettor, a winner in 1:56.5 at Menangle on Tuesday.
Muscle Factory has drawn perfectly in gate three for the final, while Ilikemebettor will come from gate six after the emergencies come out.
The Bathurst final, on the other hand, looks a much more open affair with the Hewitt stable hoping to upstage the powerful Amanda and Steve Turnbull stables, who have two runners.
Amanda will be hoping to turn the tables on Crazy Shippo with Chasing The Wind after going down narrowly in their qualifying heat.
Steve will replace Amanda on Smooth Cash while Josh Turnbull also has Yes You May in the feature final.