Vicki Wisener will have one eye on the fast-approaching ‘Unmissable’ Australian Cup Carnival when exciting prospect Hara’s Skipper and regally-bred sprinter Aston Lira venture to The Meadows on Saturday night.
Both are warm favourites with Sportsbet for their respective assignments, with Hara’s Skipper (box 7) $2.20 for race 9 at 9.24pm, and Aston Lira (box 4) $2.15 for the sixth event at 8.17pm.
Hara’s Skipper, a son of exciting young sire Sennachie, makes his debut at The Meadows after winning three of his past four starts at Sandown Park in explosive fashion, clocking 29.20sec, 29.37sec and 29.45sec.
The ex-Queenslander has won five from 12 overall, with four of his victories coming since relocating to Victoria.
Wisener paid Hara’s Skipper the ultimate accolade when comparing the lightly-raced prospect with record-breaking dual G1 winner Aston Rupee, which was trained by partner Glenn Rounds.
“His last two wins have been very big runs,” Wisener said.
“He’s very strong and determined and a really good chaser.
“I didn’t think he had any chance last week, but he found his way through them and took off down the back.
“He actually reminded me of Aston Rupee, the way he took off down the back. I thought, ‘Look at him go!’ Aston Rupee knew where the post was, and Hara’s Skipper does too.
“I don’t think I’ve told Glenn yet!” she added with a laugh.
WATCH: “Hara’s Skipper wins again!” HARA’S SKIPPER (B6) showed great field sense and brilliant mid-race acceleration to defeat ANDRE BALE (B1) in a slick 29.45sec at Sandown Park on Australia Day.
“Saturday is his first time at The Meadows, but he has trialled there. He felt his way around the first turn and the home turn, but we were happy with how he went.
“He likes the rail, so box seven isn’t a great draw. He’s not a pinger, but once he hits the ground he takes off. Hopefully, he can be somewhere safe on the first turn.”
Hara’s Skipper followed litter brother Hara’s Salty, winner of his first two starts at Albion Park, including a fast 29.89sec effort, to Victoria, with the litter also including G2 Ipswich Cup winner and G1 Gold Bullion finalist Hara’s Herbie.
“I knew the owner, Gary Pearce, and he asked if Glenn and I would take Hara’s Salty, and then he told us he had another one that might be better,” Vicki explained.
“It’s a very good litter, but these two didn’t break-in that well and Gary bought them for $1500 each, so he got himself a bargain!
“They’re beautiful looking dogs – Hara’s Skipper is 39 kilos and Hara’s Salty is 36 – and they’re real gentlemen too.
“Hara’s Salty has had one start for us, at Bendigo, but we’ve had a few setbacks with him. He’s just coming back into work now.”
The Aston Rupee theme continues with Wisener’s other runner at The Meadows, Aston Lira, a regally bred Fernando Bale x Aston Miley younger half-brother to the former superstar.
Aston Lira debuted just on twelve months ago, in the G3 Vic Bred Maiden series conducted during the Australian Cup Carnival, running fourth to Plaintiff in the final.
Aston Lira has been restricted to just 21 starts in the past year, notching seven wins, but he hasn’t competed over 500m since June.
After close-up minor placings in heats of the G2 Warragul (second) and Traralgon Cups (third) at his past two starts, the blueblood also has a tricky draw to contend with in his return to the city.
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“He’s had a couple of little, niggling injuries, but he’s come back better than ever this time around,” Wisener said.
“He hasn’t been to The Meadows or Sandown for a while, but he’s ready for the 500m now.
“He hasn’t drawn well, although he runs to the middle of the track and he’s usually a good beginner.
“It’s hard to say which one is the better chance. It depends how they jump. They’ve both got good chances if they begin.
“Aston Lira would have to lead because he’s not as strong as Hara’s Skipper.
“We’ll see how they go on Saturday night, but I’d say they’ll probably head to the Australian Cup. Hara’s Skipper has won five races, so the Launching Pad is too far away. We can’t pull him up now.”