The Race To Royalty is taking shape during TAB Breeders Crown heats week in Victoria, with local and abroad two and three-year-olds making their play for the age racing riches.
All two-year-old Victorian heat contestants at Ballarat on Tuesday and Kilmore on Wednesday booked places in the August 18 semi-finals at Bendigo's Lords Raceway.
Fifteen contested the Always B Miki fillies Victorian heats and they will likely be joined by All Stars' Art Major three-year-old Our Princess Tiffany, who is unbeaten in seven starts including in the $150,000 2YO Diamond and on her Australian debut at Menangle on Tuesday.
The class is also expected to feature Australian heat winners Miss Streisand (New South Wales), Betamerica (Queensland) and Mandy John (Western Australia). Soho Crucio (South Australia) and Karalta Moondance (Tasmania) may also attend, but Gladamare (New Zealand North Island) will not.
The TAB.com.au has listed Princess Tiffany a $1.80 favourite in all-in markets for the two-year-old fillies ahead of Emma Stewart's Kualoa ($3.20) and Mick Stanley's Soho Nolita ($5.50).
The 14 contestants of last night's Woodlands Stud two-year-old colts and geldings Victorian heats have also advanced to semi-finals night, where they likely be confronted by four interstate or international visitors.
While Kolovos (New Zealand North Island), Leonidas (New South Wales) and Regulus (Queensland) have been ruled out, All Stars colt Im Anothermasterpiece will endeavour to build on his record of seven wins and three placings from 10 starts at the Breeders Crown.
Culture King (South Australia), The Embezzler (Western Australia) and Max Delight (Tasmania) are also expected at the Bendigo semi-finals, but it's a Victorian pair who top the TAB.com.au all-in market.
Heat winners Hurricane Harley ($2.40) and Centenario ($3.40) are on top, with Im Another Masterpiece ($4.50) and Bernie Hewitt's College Chapel ($5) tipped to be snapping at their heels.
Tonight it's the turn of the three-year-old fillies to have their Woodlands Stud heats, and it's likely all 21 contestants will advance to the August 18 semi-finals after the scratchings of Hows The Memory and Fire Safe from tonight.
Likely to be waiting for them in the semi-finals are Jarades Delight (New South Wales), Red Charmer (Queensland) and Our Angel Of Harlem (Western Australia). The jury is still out on South Australian heat winner Melodys Daughter, while Western Glory (Tasmania) and New Zealand heat winners Somethingaboutmary and the brilliant Shez All Rock have been ruled out.
Punters think with the absence of Shez All Rock, who experienced a leg complaint, the Victorians will deliver the ultimate Race to Royatly winner in this class, with the TAB.com.au listing Emma Stewart's Speak No Evil a $2.50 favourite. Our Angel Of Harlem ($3), the former Kiwi who's now stationed with WA trainer Mike Reed, and Courtney Slater's well-traveled Goodtime Heaven ($3.50) are next in the market.
There will be no shortage of excitement around the three-year-old colts and geldings heats, with Ignatius (New South Wales) and VHRSC Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One (Queensland) both set for Breeders Crown campaigns, as is New Zealand qualifier Diamonds N Cash, who will race for Victorian trainer Andy Gath.
Today's withdrawal of Ange McDowell's much-loved Lumineer will dampen the Victorian resistance, but Emma Stewart's clan of Ride High, Poster Boy and Konan are all in single figures with the TAB.com.au, which has Ignatius ($2.30) on top.
With scratchings excluded, 27 horses will contest Friday night's heats, vying to be among the 21 who will challenge the three raiders in the August 18 semi-finals.
The Victorian trotters have their heats at Maryborough next Thursday. New Zealand heats have seen Stress Factor, winner of Sunday's Victorian Trotters Derby, and Show Gait qualify for the respective boys and girls three-year-old finals.
The jury is still out on whether two-year-old boys Anditover and Enhance Your Calm will make the trip across the Tasman, but two-year-old fillies Enable Me and On The Mantlepiece aren't expected.