Trainer Kyle Harper is confident Bettors Fire can provide a strong test for Inter Dominion champion Lazarus in Friday night’s Retravision-Fremantle Pacing Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park.
Bettors Fire was a surprise winner of the Village Kid Sprint (1730m) at Gloucester Park on December 29, defeating Fremantle Cup rivals Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull.
Harper said the addition of Lazarus and stablemate Ultimate Machete in the Group 1 feature meant Bettors Fire would find it difficult to win on Friday, but he was confident the nine-year-old would acquit himself well.
“It’s always hard stepping up from a mile to 2500 in a fortnight, but I’ve done it before,” Harper told TABradio’s The Sports Daily.
“Fortunately he is such a good horse and he makes up for any mistakes I might make.
“I’m not discounting him, but can any of us beat Lazarus at the top of his game…I don’t think so.
“Funnier things have happened but we have no great expectations to be winning the race.”
Bettors Fire’s hopes of causing a Fremantle Pacing Cup upset were aided by a favourable barrier draw on Tuesday mornings, drawing barrier one.
Bettors Fire crossed his rivals from barrier seven to lead with ease in the Village Kid Sprint, and Harper said he would look to hold the front again on Friday.
“Barrier one makes it easier,” he said.
“He shouldn’t have to be running any stupid lead times to hold his spot in front.
“Plan A is to hold the front, but expect him to run second.”
Harper said he expected Bettors Fire to take further improvement from the run in the Fremantle Cup into next week’s WA Pacing Cup.
Lazarus remains a firm $1.38 favourite for the Group 1 feature on TABtouch, while Bettors Fire is a $9 chance.