Encipher Photo by Club Menangle (Hamilton Content Creators)
TAB Eureka winner Encipher’s trail blazing romp will see her chase history and try to become the first mare to win the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton on October 14.
After weighing up their options, connections have decided to give her another chance against “the boys” after she gunned down Queensland pacing sensation Leap To Fame to win the inaugural $2.1mil TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 2.
Co-trainer Emma Stewart rang owner-breeder Tyson Linke to outline the options.
“We’re going to the Victoria Cup,” Linke said. “The way I see it, now we’ve won the Eureka anything else from here is a bonus."
“So, we might as well go in the big races and hope for a good draw and some luck. She’s shown she’s good enough.”
No mare has won the Victoria Cup – harness racing’s version of the Cox Plate since it was first run in 1974.
Mighty Kiwi mare Amazing Dream, now based in the US, has fared best in recent times when she ran fourth to Max Delight with King Of Swing third in 2021.
Back in 1999, star Kiwi mare Kates First ran second and mighty Aussie mare Tailamade Lombo was fourth in the Cup won by Holmes DG.
Linke said the other key was Encipher would not have to miss any major mares’ races to contest the Victoria Cup.
“No, she can run in the Queen of the Pacific because they don’t clash,” he said.
The $150,000 Group 1 Queen of the Pacific is at Melton on November 4.
“Those big mares’ races could almost be as strong as the Victoria Cup when you look how good this bunch of mares is,” Linke said.
Encipher’s key rivals, all stablemates, in a race like the Queen of the Pacific, will include last Saturday night’s Group 1 Vicbred winner Amore Vita, champion mare Ladies In Red, who is on the comeback trail, along with the likes of Tough Tilly, Treachery and Soho Historia.
There was also speculation Amore Vita could tackle the Victoria Cup after her record-equalling Vicbred win. She joined former stablemate Maajida as just the second female pacer to win the two, three and four-year-old Vicbred finals.
Despite the fact Amore Vita raced against the boys in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake in Queensland on July 22, her owner-breeder Steve Dolan wants to keep her against the girls, at least for now.
Like Linke, Stewart and Tonkin outlined the options to Dolan.
In other Victoria Cup news, defending champion Rock N Roll Doo will go to Friday week’s Group 2 Kilmore Cup after his easy Maryborough Cup win yesterday.
And star four-year-olds Catch A Wave, and Captain Ravishing look headed towards a clash a week before the Victoria Cup in the Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint at Melton.
· Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor writing on harness racing for News Corp.