Barrier draw favours eastern raiders in The Nullarbor

Barrier draw favours eastern raiders in The Nullarbor thumbnail

APRIL 18, 2024 – By Ken Warren,


Fortune has favoured the interstate raiders in the TABtouch The Nullarbor with the three eastern-trained pacers drawing well at Gloucester Park on Friday night.


Hot And Treacherous.
 Hot And Treacherous.

Sydney trainer-driver combination Jason Grimson and Cameron Hart will have every chance to land back-to-back Nullarbors after their charge Hot And Treacherous drew ideally in barrier three for the $1.25 million Group 1 feature, which forms harness racing’s leg of the Western Trilogy.

Last year’s runner up Spirit of St Louis will get his shot at redemption after drawing the coveted number one marble while Victorian Catch A Wave comes right into contention from barrier four.

Like his stablemate Betterzippit did last year, Hot And Treacherous has a real sense of timing heading into The Nullarbor.

He has only been with Grimson for this campaign but has already won three races at Menangle, putting two together before finishing second to his accomplished stablemate Nerano in his latest outing.

He was a victim of a sit-and sprint affair over a mile on that occasion but the hitout will have topped him off and he’ll be better suited by what should be more of a staying test in The Nullarbor.

He possesses good gate speed and is likely to be pushing for the lead at some stage, whether from the mobile or in a mid-race move.

He’s tough and will be primed so if he can get to the front of the pack will be hard to get past.


Spirit Of St Louis.
 Spirit Of St Louis. Picture: Harness Racing New South Wales


Spirit Of St Louis could be considered somewhat of a bridesmaid with seconds in two Miracle Miles, a Hunter Cup, a Blacks a Fake and last year’s Nullarbor on his resume but he has been one of the most consistent performers at the top level in recent seasons.

Another big win in Australia would be fitting before he heads to the US to continue his career and the ace draw will give him his chance to deliver just that.

Spirit of St Louis drew out in barrier eight in last year’s Nullarbor but showed terrific early speed to cross and lead before handing up.

With that in mind he can be expected to put on the pace early but whether he holds the lead will be one of the key tactical aspects of the race.

Catch A Wave looked like the next big thing when he completed the Chariots of Fire-Miracle Mile double in Sydney last year and while he has yet to return to those heights he has also had some problems along the way.

Unlike his two eastern counterparts, Catch A Wave was given a lead-up run in Perth and there was plenty to like about the performance when he drew the back row and worked but kept giving for fourth.

A Group 1 win would break new ground in WA for accomplished trainer-driver duo Andy and Kate Gath and the couple has spoken of their intent to drive Catch A Wave with a sit to allow him to use his turn of foot.

With speed drawn inside him Catch A Wave should be able to take up a prominent but trailing position and unleash a late sprint.


Catch A Wave.
 Catch A Wave. Picture: Harness Racing New South Wales


The barrier draw has dealt a blow to the local brigade’s bid to keep The Nullarbor crown at home but it is a strong contingent of established and rising stars.

Jumpingjackmac has two duck eggs next to his name but was drawn terribly in both of those and was a good winner of the Bunbury Cup last month.

He came from this same barrier when third in last year’s Nullarbor and with speed drawn inside should get a nice cart into the race.

Minstrel comes into the race as the form runner winning six of his last seven starts but his hopes were dealt a blow by drawing the outside of the front row.

From there he’ll likely need to work or rely on luck but he has won from wide barriers in the past.

Mighty Ronaldo has a knack of stepping up on a big occasion with Group 1 wins in the Golden Slipper, WA Derby and Fremantle Cup on his resume.

He has been ticking along well and the low draw can see him in the finish.

Boom four-year-old Never Ending steps up against the older pacers but he has looked a big talent when dominant against his own age group in past seasons.

A green performance in the Bunbury Cup two back raised some questions about his maturity and readiness to tackle this level but his draw on the back on Spirit Of St Louis should offer him a perfect cart into the race.