Group 1 mares add star power to Riverina Championships

29 March 2024

Four Group 1 winning mares - including two currently considered to be among the nation’s best - will clash in an intriguing battle at the Riverina Championships finals program at Wagga on Sunday.

The meeting features two $100,000 finals for four and five year-old pacers - one each for the boys and the girls - but it is the mares division that provides the star power.
Four-time Group 1 winner Major Delight (pictured) needs little introduction and has tasted defeat just three times in 20 starts but two of her conquerors will line up against her on Sunday.
Progressive mare Eye Keep Smiling is the standout among the challengers and poses a big threat having toppled Major Delight in their lone clash in last season's Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge Final.
Last season's NSW Oaks winner Windy Hill Tara is the other to have beaten Major Delight while Jewel Melody is ahead of that mare in terms of Group 1 victories with five wins at the elite level.
Major Delight is as reliable as they come having never missed the top two and while she only just did enough for a resuming win in the heats she is four from four when second up so is sure to be improved.
Her record speaks for itself so is a big chance to turn the tables on Eye Keep Smiling through their only clash.
Eye Keep Smiling though appears to be the one with more upside and was impressive when resuming in the heats, drawing clear late to score by more than 5m to maintain an unbeaten record at the circuit and at the distance.
That was her ninth success from just 11 starts and she is two from two when second up so with improvement likely can topple her main rival again.
Eye Keep Smiling

Not To Be Denied looks the other player as she got close to Major Delight when resuming in the heats and is open to improvement.
Extreme Sea is the one on the up in the entries and geldings final and was an eye-catcher when resuming in the heats, closing strongly for a 3.6m third.
He'll be improved by that hit-out, his first since completing a winning hat trick with his victory in the Breeders Challenge Eastern Region 3CG Final at Menangle in December.
He is a talented gelding who is still lightly-raced so has plenty of upside and can step up.
Brooklyn Bridge is hard to knock having won his last three starts, leading to cruise home by 9m in the heats.
That took his record at the circuit and distance to five from five so he could well overcome a second row draw to maintain the unbeaten record.
Don Hugo is another that completed a winning hat trick with a narrow heat victory where he led from the widest draw. He is a major player again with even luck from the back row.
Missed The Truth got close to Don Hugo in the heats, extending his long string of wins and placings. He is ultra-reliable so must be included along with My Ultimate Snowy who has been thereabouts without winning of late.

To view the Racing & Sports form for the meeting CLICK HERE