No doubt many of Victoria’s top drivers are waiting and hoping for a phone call.

Last week’s exciting announcement In Queensland of the new Ultimate Driver Championship has certainly sparked loads of chatter.

The word is at least two international superstars are already deep in talks with prospective slot owners.

North American superstars Tim Tetrick and Jody Jamieson spoke glowingly of the concept when it was announced last week.

Down Under expats Dexter Dunn, Todd and Andy McCarthy are sure to field calls, too.

You can take it to the bank some of the biggest names in the world will be part of the inaugural 20-race series across two race nights next February.

And, judging by the early interest, a couple of the slots may even be bought by North American or US interests.

Victoria has always proudly boasted incredible depth in its driving ranks and it will be fascinating to see how many of them land slots in the elite 10-driver series.

Those who immediately spring to include: Greg Sugars, Chris Alford, Kate Gath, Kerryn Manning, Nathan Jack, James Herbertson and Mark Pitt.

No doubt the criteria for each slot owner in selecting their driver will vary. Some will want maximum PR value for their brand, others will want to support their own (i.e. a West Australian slot owner could want one of that state’s drivers) and then some will pick purely on the best available.

Depending on the individual criteria, Greg Sugars would have to near the top of the Victorian contenders.

Aside from his sustained excellence in Australia, Sugars has built on that by showing his talent in Sweden, and more recently NZ, over the past 12 months.

The “Candy Man” as some call him is also presents himself well, is always looking to promote the game and would be very attractive option.

Then there’s the “Puppet” – Chris Alford – who’s deeds need no explaining.

He might be 56 now, but he’s a competitive and daring as ever and a stack more career wins than anyone else in this part of the work – over 8040 and counting – in compelling.

And what about out champion females, headed by Manning and Gath.

Like Sugars, Manning has done it everywhere … winning a Group 1 in Norway as a “kid” and adding the NZ Trotting Cup later in life.

Arguably, Manning has been as influential as any female driver in the world.

Gath’s won three recent Melton driving premierships, which certainly takes some doing in the tough school that is our driving ranks.

But doing it away from home is the ultimate test and Gath’s stunning Perth deeds – faultless drives to win the Nullarbor and Fremantle Cup – are fresh in everyone’s minds.

One of the best things about harness racing is the huge impact and success of females on a level playing field.

Manning and Gath are two of the best in this part of the world and would add plenty to the Ultimate Driver Championship.

Nathan Jack has the both the overall record and feature race success to command plenty of attention, too.

Then there is Victoria’s top driver James Herbertson, who just keeps delivering and deserves more feature race and high-profile opportunities.

And what about Mark Pitt? It’s easy to say he gets great drives from Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, but that brings plenty of pressure and expectation with it. Pitt’s strike rate is superb.

Given the array of talent on offer in Australia and New Zealand (think Zac Butcher, Tony Herlihy and Blair Orange), let alone possibles from North America and Europe, and this concept haas the making of being something special.

Hopefully at least a couple of Victorians are part of it.

The opinions expressed in The Forum are those of the author and may not be attributed to or represent policies of Harness Racing Victoria, which is the state authority and owner of