Greg Sugars is optimistic a former star three-year-old can prove she’s blossomed into a quality mare tonight then, one race later, guide another Emma Stewart-trained hopeful to her own three-year-old fame.

Before Sugars partners with Banglez in the Group 1 Catanach’s Jewellers Victoria Trotters Oaks he will realign with Maajida, who looms as the primary threat to Spellbound in the TAB Make Mine Cullen.

The first leg of the Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown is among the headliners on tomorrow night’s Ballarat card and Sugars is hopeful of adding an 18th win from his 25th start with Maajida, despite their gate 13 draw.

“Back to her own sex here I think is going to be a massive asset for her, even though the short-course back row-wide draw’s not ideal, I think she’s got a bit of a class edge on most of these,” he said.

Maajida returned from a spell with a first-up eighth in the Garrards Popular Alm Free For All, a leader dominated affair in which her similarly difficult draw proved almost disqualifying.

“She’s obviously a very high-class mare Maajida and I don’t think she was disappointing in any way shape or form first-up,” Sugars told Burning Questions.

“It was one of those races where you were out the back, times were solid up front and you just felt like you were chasing all the way. I thought she stuck to her guns pretty well up the straight.”

Similar obstacles may separate her from victory in the Make Mine Cullen, but her major threat Spellbound’s also drawn the back row and Sugars told Burning Questions he believed Maajida was better suited to overcome challenges in the run.

“Spellbound’s obviously first up from a break but trialled very well,” he said. “She’s going to be hard to beat, but I’m tipping that run will really tighten Maajida up and back to the short trip I think she’s going to be hard to roll.

“She can race various ways, where as Spellbound is probably a bit more one-dimensional in my opinion. Maajida’s a winner of 19 races from about 30 starts and (won) about half-a-million dollars, so she’s very well credentialled.

“If there’s not a lot of pace on early and I can get forward, I won’t hesitate in doing that.”

Driving decisions will be much more simple for Sugars in the Victoria Trotters Oaks, with Banglez snaring the gate two draw and set for a forward running.

“(Banglez has) unfortunately made a couple of mistakes behind the gate in the past,” Sugars said. “I think there’s been reasons for that which have hopefully been rectified now.

“There’s not much between (Queen Elida and Banglez), both very, very nice fillies of course. Although Queen Elida’s (gate three) pressed forward and led she hasn’t shown brilliant speed straight off the arm in recent starts, so hopefully if I do everything right I’m quick enough to at least go with it. If Banglez finds the front I don’t think they will be catching her.”



TUNE IN at BALLARAT on Saturday night 

First Race: 5.55pm Last Race: 11.02pm
Racecaller: Dan Mielicki with Nikkita Ross and Tim O'Connor to host the wall-to-wall coverage.
Trots Vision: WATCH LIVE


EARLY SPEED: 2,3 + 1,6
RATINGS: 2 / 5 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 1 / 3 / 4
SUGGESTED BET: Flexi trifecta: 2,5 / 2,5,7,8,9 / 1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9 ($24 gets 50%)
For tips and speedmaps for all races visit Good Form at

Winner of the Week

MAX DELIGHT, by Bettors Delight out of Lady Euthenia, a winner of the Victoria Cup at Bendigo on October 9.
Breed your next winner with Woodlands Stud, supporter of Trots Centre


The good oil from the Vic trials circuit

Ballarat, R4 N3, Aldebaran Misty
At Geelong on July 26, ALDEBARAN MISTY was four back on the markers and moved up without cover at the bell before hitting the front at the 850m mark. She appeared to be very sharp in the final circuit and raced away to win by a large margin. REPORT
Ballarat, R7 N4, Shesmybaby
At Melton on October 6, SHESMYBABY was five back on the inside, moved into the one out and one back trail, came out three horses wide on the home turn and ran home strongly in the run to the finish. REPORT