If tonight's fast class pacing affair were decided by which horse delivered the most impressive last start performance then Echuca gelding Run Forrest would be a prohibitive favourite.
Trained by Wayne Lear, the six-year-old son of Safely Kept arrives back in Bendigo tonight after producing the performance of his career at the same track seven days ago.
On that occasion Run Forrest showed good gate speed from a wide front-line draw to sit parked outside the leader before just going under in a blistering mile rate of 1min55.8secs.
Tonight, he has the advantage of barrier one in his pursuit to avenge that luckless second place finish.
Marked a $2.70 popular elect by Harness Racing Victoria form expert Michael Polster, Run Forrest will be challenged by Did It Alone ($4) and Elsu Prince ($6) in the Race For Fun Club Pace.
Forgotten Group 1 winner Renaissance Man indicated his readiness for a racetrack return at Melton on Monday night, claiming a 2240m mobile trial in emphatic style.
Once the headline horse of Andy Gath’s Long Forest barn, Renaissance Man has not been seen for more than a year but proved he will once again be a force by finishing off in 56-secs for a 9.5m win.
The pacer that usurped Renaissance Man as Gath’s ruling stable star, Caribbean Blaster, also trialled impressively ahead of Friday night’s The Gammalite at Tabcorp Park.
Starting from the 20m tape, the Chariots of Fire and Breeders crown Champion narrowly defeated fellow Gammalite aspirant Melpark Major by a head with Our White Knight 8m away in third.
Other notable trial performances were those of smart four-year-old Chancellor Cullen, who claimed his qualifier with ease and comeback trotter Conaroyal who won the final trial of the evening.
Momentum continues to build in the charge toward November’s New Zealand Cup with half of the top dozen horses in betting heading toward the Avon City Ford Cup at Addington this Friday night.
Auckland Reactor, Sushi Sushi, Franco Emirate, Gold Ace, Mah Sish and Mach Banner will all line up in the Group 3 race which offers ballot exemption to the NZ Cup for the winner.
Boilover Ballarat Cup winner Highview Tommy and Victoria Cup Placegetter Sleepy Tripp will add to Mark Purdon’s stranglehold on the race along with former gun three-year-old Major Mark.
Golden Nugget champion Gold Ace has been the boom horse in NZ Cup discussion this week after finishing off a Rangiora workout on Sunday in 54.7 seconds.
He is now at $12 with the TAB for the Group 1 feature on November 13.
Victorian Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine was on hand yesterday for the official opening of Cranbourne’s state-of-the-art training centre almost a year after the ambitious project began.
The new home of training team Vivian Tomren and Charlie Wootton, who have tasted success since the move with Stylish Jasper, the complex has already been labelled a world class facility.
In all, the training centre is equipped to host 46 horses in the initial phase of its development which will be serviced by three unique training tracks a short walk from the stabling area.
A 24m equine bungee pool, 8-horse walking machine and 4-horse jogger complements the complex which was developed as a joint project between the Coalition Government, Cranbourne HRC and Harness Racing Victoria.