Better Eclipse is emerging as an exciting Lather Up Victoria Derby prospect after a classy victory against older rivals at Bendigo on Saturday night.
The Jess Tubbs-trained three-year-old backed-up his narrow second placing to Bondi Lockdown two weeks ago with success in the VHRC Thanks Rich River Golf Pace (1650m).
Tubbs' husband Greg Sugars was at the controls on Saturday night, and while he wasn't declaring the son of Betterthancheddar as a winning hope in the feature on October 9, felt he was well and truly deserving of his chance to chase Group 1 glory.
"They are only three-year-old once obviously and the derbies only come around once in a lifetime for them," he said.
Sugars said the horse - now a winner of four races from 10 starts - was a stable favourite.
"He was pretty lit-up actually in the parade ring and going out on the track tonight, so I think he is sort of coming of age and really developing into a nice horse," he said.
"He's a good-looking animal and he certainly is feeling very well in himself."
An hour after Better Eclipse's triumph, one of his main dangers to the Derby prize put together another brilliant performance in Bendigo.
Bondi Lockdown scored an all-the-way win in the VHRC Thanks Benstud 3yo Pace (2150m) for trainer-driver Aaron Dunn, who found the lead and was able to rip home in final quarters of 27.0 and 27.5 for a mile rate of 1:57.1.
He defeated a brave Major Moth, who boxed on well and closed the gap to less than 5m in running second first-up from a long spell.
The Lather Up Victoria Derby heats are scheduled for October 2, with the $200,000 final a week later on October 9.
WATCH GREG SUGARS' TROTS VISION INTERVIEW BELOW: