By Nicholas Oakes
The top driver in Cape Breton, N.S., will look to punch his first ticket to Atlantic Canada’s biggest harness race tonight at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
Redmond Doucet will drive Euchred from Post 7 in The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer Trial 1 at the capital oval. The $12,500 race will see eight horses looking for the first four spots in next Saturday’s $60,000 final. The final four spots will be determined in Monday's Trial 2.
Doucet has only raced in the trials once before, driving Duke for trainer Jamie Copley in 2009, but has never made it to the final. He will sit behind 58-time winner Euchred for his brother-in-law, trainer Walter Walker, and owner Kayla Habicht-Walker of Inverness, N.S. Euchred has already seen the winner’s circle six times from 11 seasonal starts but will have his biggest test tonight.
“I think Euchred can be top four if the trip works out and make it to the big dance,” Doucet said. “If he minds his manners.”
Time To Dance, the runner-up in the Governor’s Plate final, is the morning-line favourite from Post 2 for trainer-driver Marc Campbell.
Doucet sees the entire field as an evenly-matched group.
“The horse Jason Hughes drives, Simple Kinda Man, he has great gate speed so I imagine they will be going forward. Even the one horse (Father Of the Year), he is tricky, he races good in Charlottetown. He paced 1:51 over Woodbine, so he’s no slouch either.”
A winner of more than 20 per cent of his lifetime starts, Doucet is no stranger to the winner’s circle and he is looking forward to seeing a local entrant hit the wire first in this pandemic climate.
“It’s the most local talent you’re ever going to see again in this race, probably ever again,” the driver said. “One of the best Gold Cups I was ever at, and I was at a lot of them, was the year Earl Smith won with Pownal Bay Matt (in 2008). Trip worked out and that was awesome.”
Cape Bretoners are known for being ardent supporters of Old Home Week with a number of them still coming for Gold Cup and Saucer week 2020.
“Ever since I was a kid, we travelled to Charlottetown to watch the Gold Cup and Saucer. It’s a big race. The atmosphere of a whole week strictly racing, a lot of people plan their vacations around it. It’s the nicest place to race a horse. When it’s a pure Old Home Week, there is no better place to be for the month of August.”
Post – Horse – Driver
- Father Of the Year – Mike Downey
- Time To Dance – Marc Campbell
- Simple Kinda Man – Jason Hughes
- Best To Hurst – David Dowling
- Screen Test – Corey MacPherson
- Avatar J – Gilles Barrieau
- Euchred – Redmond Doucet
- Freddy Bear – Adam Merner
Nicholas Oakes is covering harness racing at Gold Cup and Saucer Week for The Guardian. This is his 11th year covering the big week for the news outlet.