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Memorable night for Brendan Barnes looms

By Duane Ranger

After a slowish start to the season, Logan Village reinsman Brendan Barnes is hoping his form reversal in recent weeks can produce yet another milestone at Albion Park on Saturday night.

Late last month, Barnes drove his 400th career winner and on Tuesday gone steered the comeback king Hectorjayjay to a 10.6 victory at Albion Park.

This season, he has driven 67 winners and banked just over $500,000 in stakes, and now Barnes is on the verge of another milestone in 2020.

“It’s really started to happen these last few weeks and I hope I can carry it on into Saturday’s meeting,” Barnes said.

“I won two heats in the Trot Rods finals at Redcliffe on Sunday (Shady’s Delight and Illawong Dreamtime) as well.

“I just hope I can keep winning and claim my first Driving Title.”

The 23-year-old was referring to the 2020 BOTRA Queensland Young Drivers Championship, which is currently being staged at Redcliffe Paceway and Albion Park.

“I’ve never won any type of Driving Series, and in fact I think my win yesterday was my first ever in any kind of Championship,” Barnes said.

“It would mean a great deal to me to win this; it would be great for the CV, and it would also be good to get one over the other juniors because they are a talented lot.

“This is my last year in the Series, so it means a lot - I’d love to bow out a champion.”

After two heats at Redcliffe on Thursday, Barnes currently sits second in the Championship.

He won the first heat one by a half-a-head behind the Murray Thomas trained Cannan, drawing the ace and paying $6.50.

Redcliffe

2020 BOTRA QUEENSLAND YOUNG DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP - HEAT 1 1780m

In the second heat Barnes finished ninth behind the Terry Hancock trained Subtle Advice.

He now sits in second place with 19 points, three points behind early pace-setter Zac Chappenden.

In the third heat at Albion Park on Friday night, Barnes is scheduled to drive the Ron Sallis trained $17 shot, Pittsworth Man (5).

He should maintain his position near the top of the leaderboard when he sits behind the Donny Smith trained Street Appeal (6) in the fourth heat at 8.03pm – a $1.80 favourite.

Looking forward to Saturday night’s heats, Barnes rated the Jack Butler trained Harpagus as his best winning chance at ‘The Creek’.

That five-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare, is one of two pacers he will drive for his talented training boss in Butler.

 

All of Barnes’ five drives on Saturday night (with race, trainer, runner, number, form, opening odds, and comments) are:

Race 2: The Jack Butler trained HEZA BROMAC (7) - 88952 - $6 third favourite.

“He has drawn one from the outside, but has really improved a lot in his last two races.”

“He was narrowly beaten last start and the race before than he hit the line well, I will drive him a but conservatively in this and take him back early.”

“There’s a bit of speed in the race so I’m hoping they go hard early, and then hopefully I can get on the back of a good’un like Celtic Cruza.

“He put in a tough performance last start and is capable of going one better here.”

 

Race 4 (Queensland Young Drivers Championship - Heat 5): The Stephen Cini trained THE DOORMAN (3) - 863672 - $9.

“Live Or Die gelding, who is a nice little horse.”

“This is my first steer behind him, but I’ve seen him race and he’s versatile pacer and is more than capable of going close in this.

“He has good gate speed, and can sit and sprint, so it won’t matter too much how I drive him.

“I’m not sure what Steve has got planned for him, but he has speed, and if we can get a cozy sit, watch out.”

 

Race 6: (Queensland Young Drivers Championship - Heat 6): The Brett Cargill trained COMIGAL (8) - 41212 - $10.

“Eight-year-old mare who is going real.”

“This draw is not too bad because at worst we will be three-back on the fence.

“Last start she rattled home from four-deep and she savaged the line.

“There’s a little bit of speed around her, but if she can get out earlier than what she did last time, she can rattle home again - more than capable of placing again.”

 

Race 7: The Jack Butler trained HARPAGUS (3) - 50x35 - $3.80 loose favourite.

“Bettor’s Delight mare, who is having her third run back this campaign, and she went real good first-up when finishing third.”

“She didn’t go down by much in good time – and we dragged a flat tyre home from the 500m.

“Then she was a little bit disappointing last start when I went and sat in the chair on a slow pace.

“They dashed home and left her a bit flat-footed but if we go forward and can get somewhere handy, she can go very close because she is on the improve.”

 

Race 10: The Brian McCall trained IFYOUBELEVE (4) - 33372 - $8.50.

“Bettor’s Delight five-year-old who is a very honest little fella.”

“He has good gate speed and is seldom far away, he can get prominent and feature in this.

“He can place, and with luck in the running can even go one better and win this.

“Brian has got him going along nicely.”