Senitas Strength will look to emulate the feats of Pink Galahs from 2020 and beat the boys in this weekend’s Classic Connection @ Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby Final.
Mick Blackmore’s three-year-old was the only filly to qualify for the Group 1 clash after a tough display in the opening heat at Maryborough on Sunday.
Driver James Herbertson had the daughter of Muscle Mass outside the leader for almost all of the 2690m trip, and she proved too tough for Central Otago (Andy Gath) and favourite Sweet On You (Patrick Ryan) to win in a mile rate of 2:00.9.
That proved by far the quickest heat success of the afternoon, with Brent Lilley-trained pair Kyvalley Hotspur and Aldebaran Zeus both leading all the way and winning in 2:03.1 and 2:02.5 respectively.
Like Pink Galahs last year, Senitas Strength will be the only filly in the field when she contests next Sunday’s Derby Final back at Maryborough.
The first four horses across the line in each of the three heats won a place in the $75,000 race.
The barrier draw for the elite level contest will be completed Wednesday, with fields available by about 2.30pm.
Also on Sunday, David Aiken-trained Aldebaran Crescent broke a long winning drought with success in the Group 3 Aldebaran Park True Roman Trotters Free For All (2190m).
The mare had the cosy trip in behind early leader Sleepee and pounced in the home straight on the back of a sizzling 27.3 third quarter that left the front-runners vulnerable. In the end, she powered clear to win by 3.7m from Is That A Bid (Michael Hughes) and favourite Majestuoso (Andy Gath), who raced outside the leader and faded late.
The Classic Connection @ Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby Final will be one of two Group 1 contests on Sunday’s card, with the time-honoured Aldebaran Park Redwood Classic also headlining the all-trotting meeting at Maryborough.
VICTORIA TROTTERS DERBY FINAL
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31
ALDEBARAN ZEUS (Brent Lilley)
CENTRAL OTAGO (Andy Gath)
KYVALLEY HOTSPUR NZ (Brent Lilley)
LOCKSLEY LOVER (John Nissen)
MUFASA METRO NZ (John Justice)
OLLIVICI NZ (Chris Lang)
PARISIAN ARTISTE (Alex Ashwood)
SENITAS STRENGTH (Mick Blackmore)
SIX NATIONS (Kelly Stuart-Mitchell)
SWEET ON YOU (Patrick Ryan)
UTOPIA (Emma Stewart)
WEBSTER HALL (Anton Golino)
SONNYBOY (Jack Sullivan) (1st Em)