DRIVER Rebecca Bartley has declared PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup favourite San Carlo is in great shape for Saturday night’s Group 2 feature at Lord’s Raceway.
Bartley, who has driven the Stephen O’Donoghue-trained gelding in all 41 of his career starts for 24 wins and eight placings, said the eight-year-old had not missed a beat since his run in the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final at Melton on December 15.
“He’s been working very well and his Inter Dominion form was very good,” she said.
“We were really happy with all three of his heats and we were happy with him in the final – he just had a hard run.
“They broke the track record in the final, so we really weren’t disappointed with where he finished (10th of 12 runners).
“But he’s come through it well and been good within himself ever since.”
San Carlo has shown a knack for winning country cups, scoring back-to-back wins in the Yarra Valley and Cranbourne Cups in late 2018 and the Maryborough Gold Cup in 2017.
Bartley said it went without saying the team would dearly love to add a Bendigo Cup.
The Shepparton-based driver did not hesitate in nominating the Tim Butt-trained five-year-old Let It Ride, who has won 15 of 33 starts, as the main danger to San Carlo.
“He was unfortunately scratched from the Inter Dominion, but is definitely a very good horse,” she said.
“There are a lot of other horses in it who are up-and-coming – Delight Me is a really nice mare and Star Of Memphis has been going well.”
San Carlo has won all four of his starts at Lord Raceway, including on debut in June 2015.
Bartley will be having her first drive in the Bendigo Pacing Cup. She also has two other drives on the night.
The 28-year-old will first team-up with O’Donoghue to drive Jang Pel in the second heat of the Bendigo Bank Pace (2150m) before targeting the Strath Village IGA Pace (1650m) with her own horse Yerrington Bob.
“They are both in really good fields, so I am probably going to need a lot of luck going their way,” she said.
“But they have been working well – we just need things to go their way.”
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