The Bulls won the battle last weekend with the Melbourne Invitational bullpen recording a buck off rate of around 75% for the event.
With an almost identical set of bulls backing up this weekend in Adelaide, riders should benefit from seeing many of their opponents in the flesh in Melbourne, and I think we will see a lot more qualified rides.
Round 1 Matchups
Troy Wilkinson on Feel The Fire (TnR Bucking Bulls)
Wilkinson looked excellent riding into his hand last weekend, and he gets another bull that should be around to the left here. Feel The Fire produced a career-best out in Melbourne, dumping Jason Mara in under 3-seconds for 43-points. In previous outs, he has entered a flatter, faster spin than what he displayed last weekend. Either way, I think Wilkinson will have his tail up and will be hard to beat.
Aaron Kleier on Hot Dots (TnR Bucking Bulls)
Despite never having matched up, I think Kleier would have seen enough of this bull to get by him. Hot Dots carried Jason Mara to 84.5-points and the Round 2 win last weekend. He doesn’t stray far from the chute and enters a high-speed, right-handed spin. It will be away from Kleier’s hand, but I think he can handle him.
Cody Heffernan on Homicidal 2 (John Gill & Sons)
This looks a nice matchup and an excellent opportunity for Heffernan to exact revenge. Homicidal 2 has won their two previous battles with a 6.72-second buck off in Sydney at the 2017 Finals and a 7.07-second buck off in Bendigo last season. Heffernan generally gets a long way into his rides, and I see this one playing out no different with the bull turning back to the right and into Heffernan’s hand.
Lane Mellers on Ransom 2 (John Gill & Sons)
Ransom 2 has been covered four times in his six outs with Cody Heffernan taking the bull to 7.8 seconds in Dubbo. The bull can put a fake into the left, but his regular trip is to turn back to the right. Mellers was riding well heading into Melbourne and despite the pair of buck off’s, should be able to get himself back on the leaderboard with a bull that has become a rider favourite.
Mitchel Paton on Class Act (Woodall Rodeo Co)
Paton is in the midst of a four-event buck off streak, but this looks a nice matchup to get him back on track. Class Act will be around to the right, into Paton’s hand with good tempo. The bull can reverse the spin if the cowboy starts to get too comfortable. Justin Robards probably would have ridden this bull in Melbourne, but he was awarded a re-ride after the bull stumbled on the change of direction around the 6-second mark.
Lachlan Richardson on Red Rat (George Hempenstall)
We have only seen Red Rat covered four times since the 2016 Finals, but two of those outs have resulted in round wins. The most recent was Cody Heffernan who was 87.5-points in the Newcastle short-go back in August. Red Rat’s regular trip is to turn back to the left with good power, and then he hits the accelerator. If Richardson can handle the initial force, I have no doubts he can use the speed to his advantage at the end of the ride.
Round 2 Matchups
Mitchel Paton on Red Man (TnR Bucking Bulls)
This looks another nice matchup for the right-handed Paton. Red Man gave up qualified rides in five straight outs between the Global Cup and Iron Cowboy for an average of 83.75 points. He is another bull that tends to mix up his trips, but he generally has a good rhythm with his preference being a turn back to the right which should fit well with Paton.
Aaron Kleier on Snitch (TnR Bucking Bulls)
Snitch has been ridden twice from his two PBR outs with Cliff Richardson and Junio Quaresima scoring 82.5 and 80.5 points respectively. Snitch turns back to the right and enters a fast spin to the right, but his spin can be a bit flat. While there isn’t a massive opportunity for a high score here, it is a bull that Kleier should be able to make the whistle on.
Brady Fielder on City Kid (Woodall Rodeo Co)
City Kid looks an excellent fit for Fielder who makes his PBR debut. Last weekend in Melbourne the bull tried to fake Nathan Burtenshaw out before turning back to the left earning a 7.08-second buck off. We have also seen him turn back to the left as soon as the gate cracks. Fielder has made a habit of covering bulls like this on the Rodeo circuits, and if he isn’t there at the bell, he shouldn’t be too far off.
Troy Wilkinson on Road Rage (George Hempenstall)
Road Rage is unridden in his four PBR trips, but he has not faced a rider with the talent of Wilkinson. This bull can start with some drift to the right as he leaves the chutes but his go-to move has been to turn back to the left. We haven’t seen him past the mid-point of the ride yet, but his action indicates he could be another nice fit for the 2017 Champion.
Michael Smith on Lost Signal (TnR Bucking Bulls)
Smith holds a 1-nil advantage over Lost Signal with the Queenslander scoring 83.5 points in Newcastle earlier this year. The bull can mix up his trips, so riders generally have to take him jump-for-jump, and that method seems to work with seven riders getting the job done in his last eleven outs. Smith hasn’t been far away lately despite encountering some tough draws, and Lost Signal looks right for him.
View my full Adelaide Invitational Preview Here