AFTER dominating recent major races in WA and New Zealand, many of Victoria’s best horses are being primed for a massive raid on the winter riches of the Queensland Constellations.

What a glorious flexing of the muscle it's been from a proud harness racing state, starting back on April 12 when the four trotters we had in the inaugural TAB Trot at Cambridge filled the first four placings.

The mighty Just Believe led the quartet home as usual and went on to complete a perfect NZ campaign with four wins from as many starts, including adding the historic Rowe Cup to the TAB Trot success.

In between, just when Catch A Wave was building towards “enigma” status, he made two of the biggest statements of his career on one of the toughest playing fields – Perth’s Gloucester Park – winning the Nullarbor/Fremantle Cup double.

To round it on, on the same night Just Believe won the Group 1 Rowe Cup, Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars also won the Group 1 Auckland Cup with their classy pacer, Better Eclipse.

Throw in Very Pretty’s dominance of the recent NSW Oaks, and it’s clear despite the many challenges confronting Victorian harness racing, the quality of our horses is not one of them.

And that will spark what shapes as the biggest group of Victorian pacers and trotters yet heading to Brisbane in coming weeks.

Judging the calls and texts I’ve made, there could 20 or more Victorian horses chasing some serious coin in races like the $500,000 Protostar, $400,000 Blacks A Fake, $355,000 Rising Sun, $200,000 Sunshine Sprint, $150,000 Great Square, $150,000 Golden Girl, $150,000 Queensland Oaks, $150,000 Queensland Derby and $100,000 Queensland Trotters’ Cup.

All these races are run across three consecutive Saturday nights, July 13, 20 and 27 at Albion Park.

Let’s have a look at some our key contenders are their major target races:

LADIES IN RED (Golden Girl, July 20): This champion mare’s rematch with Kiwi-bred mare Aardies Express, who upset her in the recent Queen Elizabeth II Mile, will be one of the highlights of The Constellations.

VERY PRETTY (Qld Oaks, July 27): Unbeaten filly who is untapped and super exciting. She strolled the through the NSW Oaks series and held in massive regard by stable. It’ll take something special to beat her in the Qld Oaks.

THE LOST STORM (Rising Sun, July 20:): Outstanding four-year-old who didn't overly impress last outing, but did win the Queensland Derby by panels this time last year. His best is elite.

MUFASA METRO (Qld Trotters’ Championship, July 27): High-class trotter specifically given a long spell and set for this carnival after his terrific efforts through the Brisbane Inter Dominion late last year.

THE HIGHLIGHT REEL (Protostar, July 27): Clearly the standout juvenile seen this season. Quickly snapped-up by Jamie Durnberger-Smith for his slot in the exciting and inaugural Protostar. Clearly the one to beat.

BAY OF BISCAY (Qld Derby, July 27): Big, raw and highly-talented three-year-old. Just gunned down in the NSW Derby and since won the Nutrien final at Melton. Sure to be a major Qld Derby player.

FORTY LOVE (Protostar, July 27): Another exciting two-year-old chasing the Protostar for his trainer-driver Aaron Dunn, who bought his own slot in the race. Three terrific wins from just four starts.

HESITATE (Protostar, July 27): There’s talk Protostar slot owners are looking very closely at this guy with his three wins from just five starts and a second to The Highlight Reel in the Shakamaker Classic.

CIGANO (Protostar, July 27): As above. Stablemate of The Highlight Reel and will be competitive with a nice draw.

ROCKINWITHATTITUDE (Great Square, July 13): Enjoyed an awesome two and three-year-olds season and ran fourth when just a three-year-old in the Great Square last year. Returning for another crack.

CAPTAIN HAMMERHEAD (Rising Sun, July 20): So much to like about how this big, goofy fella seems to have matured this campaign. Won three of his past four at Melton and looked arrogant last time. The Rising Sun will be a very hot race, but don’t sell him short.

HONOLUA BAY (Sunshine Sprint, July 20): We’ll know after this forgotten pacing star trials during the week at Melton if he’s on song, as connections believe, for a comeback campaign in Brisbane. Former Hunter Cup winner hasn’t raced since finishing third in last year’s Miracle Mile.

MACH DAN (Blacks A Fake, July 27): Polished feature race performer who is always competitive against the best with a decent draw.