CHARLOTTETOWN – The much-anticipated 55th running of the Gold Cup and Saucer will become a little clearer after Saturday night.
The Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer Trial 1 will go in Race 12, and five of the six starters have lifetime records better than 1:50.
The connections of the 54th Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer winner are back to defend their title Saturday night. Trainer Ron Burke and driver Marc Campbell will install their hopes in Post 5 starter Aracache Hanover.
Listed as the morning-line choice, Aracache Hanover comes in showing blistering gate speed that is sure to be a factor in the compact field of six. The seven-year-old son of Dragon Again is owned by William Switala and James Martin. He is the richest starter of this year's Gold Cup entries with over $1.7 million in career earnings.
A first-time starter for trainer Rene Allard, Bigtown Hero, has drawn Post 3. Now owned by Allard Racing and Yves Sarrazin of Quebec, the son of American Ideal took his lifetime mark of 1:48.3 in his last start for trainer Trevor Stafford. Gilles Barrieau will handle the driving duties.
Allard has two entries in Trial 1, with his other entry, Island Jet, right next door from Post 4. Island native Robert Shepherd will be home to drive.
Trainer Chris Oakes will make his training debut on red soil from Post 2, when he sends out Shock It To Em for owners Hauser Bros Racing, Susan Oakes, Timothy Cable and Charles Oakes. Summerside native Walter Cheverie has been given the opportunity to drive.
Shock It To Em finished fourth in his last start at Yonkers (half-mile track), pacing his own mile in 1:52.2.
The all-important rail position on a half-mile track goes to the only Maritime starter in this year's field, Astor. He is owned by one of Red Shores’ leading owners Foxyhall Racing, and trained and driven by Charlottetown's top driver and trainer, Jason Hughes.
The outside Post 6 has gone to the only starter from last year's Gold Cup and Saucer, Up The Credit. The winner of over $1.3 million in career earnings will look to overcome the outside post for owners Thomas Kyron, Joanne Morrison and trainer Carl Jamieson.
Jamieson is a former Gold Cup and Saucer winner, but will hand the lines over to Truro, N.S., native Ryan Ellis.
The second leg of the Spud Island Classic Series for Open Mares sponsored by the P.E.I. Potato Board, will feature three divisions in Races 6, 8 and 10.
The 12-dash card will get underway at 7 p.m.