10/11/2012 2:41PM

Northlands Park: Rycroft has double-barreled weapon for Harvest Gold Plate


Trainer Tim Rycroft has two solid shots at winning the $50,000 Harvest Gold Plate with City Trooper and Real Dingo at Northlands Park on Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up drew eight horses and goes as race 12 on the 13-race closing day card.

City Trooper was well-thought-of when he arrived at Hastings last spring but went unplaced in two sprint stakes. He was transferred to Rycroft’s care following his ninth-place finish in the Johnny Longden 6000, and he has been a different horse since he arrived in Edmonton.

In his first start at Northlands he won a one-mile $30,000 claiming race Aug. 3 and followed up his win with a second-place finish behind Commander in the $50,000 Westerner going 1 1/16 miles. In his latest race he rallied to win a $40,000 optional claiming race over Aces Again on Sept. 28, and he appears to be peaking coming into the Gold Plate.

Apprentice Amie Pooli has been aboard for all of his wins and will retain the mount.

“He is doing really well right now,” said Rycroft. “I don’t know why he ran so poorly in Vancouver, but he has thrived here.”

Real Dingo won a $30,000 claiming race before running into Commander in three straight stakes races, and he just couldn’t keep up to the talented Commander, who won the Grade 3 B.C. Premiers at Hastings last Monday. Real Dingo ran reasonably well, though, finishing third in the Don Fleming and Westerner before losing by a neck to Toccetive in the $100,000, 1 3/8-mile Speed to Spare on Aug. 29.

“I think he had his eyes on Senor Rojo and didn’t see Toccetive coming,” said Rycroft. “We are going to open up his blinkers a bit to make sure he can see any horses running at him.”

Silver Baubles, trained by Ron Grieves, is on a three-race winning streak, and he earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 80 for his easy score in the 1 1/16-mile Beaufort Stakes for Alberta-bred 3-year-olds Sept. 15.

Up Jumps a Monster should appreciate the shorter distance after finishing fifth in the 1 3/8-mile Grade 3 Canadian Derby on Aug. 25.

Hollywood Dreams will be the one they have to catch, but he has been unsuccessful in three route attempts.

Aces Again finished second in last year’s Harvest Gold Plate and is coming off his best race this year behind City Trooper.

First Fire and Wild Crush round out the field.