IF everything goes to plan, Dennis Picker and Brad Hewitt will be facing off in the $200,000 Ladyship Mile in March.
The cousins are in with a shot if their unstoppable mares continue their winning ways. Picker has a proven winner, four-year-old mare Just Cala, who won the $213,000 three-year-old Fillies Breeders Crown Final race in Victoria last season.
She returned to racing with a thumping win in race one (1710m) at the Goulburn Paceway on Monday.
“She’s just a lovely mare to do anything with. All the travel it never upset her or anything. She’s good at eating and nothing fazes her,” Picker said after the victory on Monday.
“She was really well graded today and got into the race real good, so I suppose she was expected to win, and she ran pretty much as we expected.”
For Hewitt, he claims fellow mare Sweet Molly O’Shea is “the best one I’ve ever had in the last 10 years.”
“Just her ability, everything about her is great,” Hewitt said.
“I’m aiming for a $20,000 group three at Menangle with her this weekend.”
Both horses have been standouts in the harness racing scene in recent times.
Mark Croatto, secretary of the Goulburn Harness Racing Association, says having two champion mares is a fantastic feat considering the size of the region. Both horses are a chance of being nominated for the Ladyship Mile held in Menangle.
“You don’t often have horses of this standard, especially in an area like us which is relatively small compared to places like Menangle and Bathurst,” Croatto said.
“One’s a proven group on winner and one has potential to win big.”
Coincidentally, both mares are New Zealand bred.
Picker says Just Carla was recommended to him by a friend while Picker was in the country.
For Hewitt, he believes New Zealand horses have the upper hand on their Australian counterparts.
“I think they’re bred better,” he said.
“They handicap a lot harder over there so they’re racing against tougher opponents.
If you get the right one it’ll be worth it. It costs about five grand to bring over there then costs rise to about 10,000 once you’ve done all the necessary paper work.”
Sweet Molly O’Shea isn’t the only exciting horse on Hewitt’s radar.
He has four-year-old Colt - Spare me Days, entered into this weekend’s $40,000 group three race at Menangle.
“He’s named after a saying I remember my grand-father use to say whenever something would go wrong – Spare me days!”
“It’s good that he is doing well.”