The heat is on at Ballarat tonight and Allan McDonough’s hoping his home track will be a Paradise for his freshly crowned Oaks champion, who’s struck a talented field.
The trainer-driver’s Paradise Valley will contest the first of tonight’s A Rocknroll Dance Breeders Crown 3YO fillies heats, a gateway to the November 18 semi-finals and rich November 25 finals at Melton.
The pacer heads into the heat full of confidence, having won the Tasmanian Oaks in Hobart on Saturday when the $1.30 favourite was too good for the field, winning by a whopping 19 metres to claim the lion’s share of the $40,000 prize pool.
McDonough is comfortable his bay filly can back up just six days later after the trip across the Tasman.
“She is really good,” he said. “She came home from Tasmania on Monday night and I’m really happy with her, the trip didn’t knock her around and she drew really well.”
Paradise Valley has drawn nine alongside Emma Stewart-trained Perfect In Pink, one of four members of the Stewart army that also includes Victorian Oaks winner Sweet Bella. It is talent that Stewart stable worker McDonough knows well.
“You’ve nearly got four or five of the best fillies in Australia all in that one heat,” he said.
“It’s almost a Breeders Crown final as it is. I’m happy she got a back row draw. If she can be sat up, she won’t be far away.”
With all runners who cross the line advancing to the semi-finals, McDonough's series goal is to qualify for the final, but won’t rule out pushing his filly if the opportunity arises tonight.
Paradise Valley will go around in the fifth race on the card at 8:33pm, the first of four consecutive Breeders Crown heats, which conclude with the Woodlands Stud Lather Up three-year-old colts and geldings heats.