As one of Australia’s biggest harness rivalries continues at Albion Park on Saturday night, another is just a week away at the same track.

The third clash between Australia’s two top pacers – Leap To Fame and Swayzee – promises to be epic in the Mr Feelgood Pace on Saturday night. 

The pair are siblings and the scoreline is 1-1.

But the anticipation around the rematch of superstar mares Ladies In Red and Aardies Express a week later is almost as big.

They have met just once and it saw the injury-plagued former Kiwi mare Aardies Express do what most thought impossible by giving away a big start to Ladies In Red and gunning her down.

It was a mind-blowing win.

And it was just the eighth time in a 35-start career that millionaire mare Ladies In Red, who has been compared with the great mares of all time, had tasted defeat.

The Ladies In Red team were stung.

Co-trainer Emma Stewart bemoaned a lack of suitable lead-up races and conceded the champion mare “probably wasn’t wound up as much she needed to be.”

They immediately set their sights on redemption in the $150,000 Group 1 Golden Girl at Albion Park on July 20.

It’s a track where Ladies In Red has been just once and she blew a hot field, including a then emerging three-year-old Leap To Fame, in the 2022 Group 1 Rising Sun.

Stewart and co-trainer Clayton Tonkin have poured the racing and trials into Ladies In Red since and she will chase her third successive Melton win in Saturday night’s Koala King free-for-all (1720m).

Ladies In Red will be a hot favourite from gate two despite taking on the boys for just the third time in her career.

Aardies Express is also tuning-up for the Golden Girl with a race on Saturday. She’s drawn gate one in the Group 3 Fleur De Lil at Albion Park.

The Jason Grimson-trained mare will be looking to bounce back from a shock defeat when fourth at Menangle last Saturday week. It was her first defeat in four runs since moving from NZ to Australia.

Aardies Express is a $2 favourite for the Golden Girl with Ladies In Red at $2.50, but that could change after Saturday.

Ladies In Red is one of at least three Stewart-trained pacers racing at Melton on Saturday who will then head to Queensland.

The others are classy three-year-olds Bay Of Biscay and Some American, who clash in the ninth and final event of the night to prepare for the Group 1 Queensland Derby.

Stewart is also taking unbeaten filly Very Pretty for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks and exciting juveniles The Highlight Reel and Cigano for the inaugural $500,000 Protostar.

  • Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor writing on harness racing for News Corp.