A unique style of group racing the Great Southern Star consists of two elimination heats at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The first five in each race will make it into the $300,000 Group 1 final. Placing’s in each heat determine the draw for the final which is held 2 and a half hours after the completion of the second heat.
The obvious stand out in this heat is KEYSTONE DEL (3) trained by former New Zealander Nicole Molander who is now based in Victoria and driven by one of Sydney’s best reinsman. KEYSTONE DEL is the defending champion of the Great Southern Star and winner of 13 of his last 15 races, he is certainly the class runner here.
BRUNELLESCHI (7) will be driven by in form Victorian Driver Greg Sugars who is no stranger to group 1 racing after running an impressive second in the Inter Dominion last Sunday with outsider Flaming Flutter. The draw isn’t ideal but shouldn’t hinder hi chances too much.
New South Wales trained FLYING ISA (8) has been racing well in Victoria, beaten 15m in The Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton on the 20th of February against a tough field. But winning at his previous two starts, drawing the fence on the second row may suit here.
Legendary New Zealand Trotting trainer Kevin Townley has SHEEMON (1), although his form is questionable in Australia so far his New Zealand wins have been impressive. With recent World Drivers Champion Dexter Dunn on board and drawn perfectly he can’t be left out.
My selections for the first Heat of the Great Southern Star are 3-7-8-1.
The second of the elimination heats is Race 4 at 7:30pm. New Zealander trotter STENT (6) has won five of his seven Australian starts and placed in the other two. After a strong win in the $100,000 Trotting Grand Prix he must be respected here.
REALMEIN (5) is never far away in the finish, beaten 7.6m in the Trotting Grand Prix by the top two chances in the Great Southern Star series STENT and KEYSTONE DEL. He must be included as a strong place chance.
MY HIGH EXPECTATION (4) is a consistent trotter who has made a good career. Though his form has tapered off of late in tough company this Rig experience may help him.
Although MAORI TIME (9) an impressive win at Bendigo on February 26th in a mile rate of 1:56.4 and a second to STENT in the Knight Pistol suggests this mare can mix it with the big boys. Trained and driven by known trotting legend Chris Lang she mustn’t be left out.
SPIDERGIRL (2) is a classy trotter who hasn’t been at her best of late but should be considered when forming multiples.
My selections for heat two of the Great Southern Star elimination heats are 6-5-4-9.
Grade A - Guinness H'cap Chase
G1 - Irish Daily Mirror War Of Attrition Novice Hdle
G1 - Bibby Financial Punchestown Gold Cup
G3 - Liss A Paoraigh Mares Bumper
G1 - Attheraces Champion Bumper