Victoria has a genuine chance of winning three major slot races in coming weeks.

With some of our “raiders” set to step-out in foreign territory later this week and others booked on flights out of town, it’s time to rate the seven stars flying the Victorian flag.

The three races are $NZ1mil Race By Grins and $NZ575,000 TAB Trot both at Cambridge on April 12, and the $1.25mil Group 1 Nullarbor at Gloucester Park on April 19.

Here's my take on where we sit:

  1.       JUST BELIEVE

Target race: TAB Trot

Trainer: Jess Tubbs

Driver: Greg Sugars

Slot owner: Taylor Street Racing Syndicate

Current odds: $2.50

HAMILTON SAYS: Picks himself as our best chance. One of the best trotters in the world and can rightly put himself up with some of Australasia’s greatest trotters with victory in this epic race on top of everything he’s achieved so far. So fantastic in the last two of those three Swedish runs and returned home for a fantastic record of 10 wins (and two seconds) from 12 starts. Turns up anywhere, anytime and delivers. You could argue this is as strong as any race he’s contested – including Sweden – so the barrier draw will be important.



Target race: TAB Trot

Trainer: Anton Golino

Driver: Nathan Jack

Slot owner: Haras des Trotteurs

Current odds: $3

HAMILTON SAYS: What a fantastic addition this French-bred, European important has been to Australian trotting ranks. Built a fantastic record in Europe, including multiple Group 1 wins and carried that form to Australia. Monstrous effort to beat Just Believe in the Great Southern Star final. Still a bit of a work in progress, but packs great gate speed and a blistering turn of foot when driven quietly. If he brings his best to the table, he will be a formidable force.


  1.       CATCH A WAVE

Target race: Nullarbor

Trainer:  Andy Gath

Driver: Kate Gath

Slot owner: Regency Foods Australia

Current odds: $7

HAMILTON SAYS: One of the most talented pacers in the land at his top. It’s been a rollercoaster past 12 months, but crucially he looked back to close to his best, brilliantly winning at Melton last Saturday night. Maybe even more importantly, driver Kate Gath said he’s starting to feel like the “old” Catch A Wave again. It’s a different sort of racing at Gloucester Park, but one that could suit Catch A Wave if Kate gets the chance to drive him for the last crack at them. He adds so much to the Nullarbor and we know he’s good enough to win it at his best.


  1.       QUEEN ELIDA

Target race: TAB Trot

Trainer: Brent Lilley

Driver: Chris Alford

Slot owner: TAB (NZ)

Current odds: $15

HAMILTON SAYS: Star trotting mare who hasn’t been at her dominant best in recent months. But and this is a huge but, she has to draw the pole in the TAB Trot. Anyone who knows the Cambridge track or watches any racing at the track, will know the monstrous advantage the pole will be. Big chance she will settle behind the leader. If, and that’s the question, she runs to something like her best, she will get every chance. We’ll also get a chance to see where she’s at when she runs at Cambridge on Friday night.


  1.       ARCEE PHOENIX

Target race: TAB Trot

Trainer- driver: Chris Svanosio

Slot owner: Aldebaran Park

Current odds: $8

HAMILTON SAYS: There’s always been something about this guy and you sensed it chatting with Chris Svanosio along the way. And now he’s arrived. Almost beat Just Believe three starts back and then did exactly that in brilliant fashion at Melton last Saturday night. And ran seriously fast time, too. His 1min53.5sec mile rate was just 0.4sec outside the track record. He’s still on the up, but also hitting a new career peak at the right. Chances look very draw dependent, but he’s good enough.



Target race: TAB Trot

Trainer: Jess Tubbs

Driver: Greg Sugars

Slot owner: TAB (NZ)

Current odds: $11

HAMILTON SAYS: Wonderful top-level performer for a couple of years now. Already a dual Group 1 winner and enjoyed a wonderful Brisbane Inter Dominion series with a couple of heats wins and a terrific second to Leap To Fame in the final. I’d just put a pen through those two recent Menangle runs. Certainly did enough given the times then ran home (53.7/26 flat) behind Catch A Wave last Saturday night. He’s an opportunist at the very top level, but there’s no Leap To Fame, Swayzee or even Catch A Wave to contend with in NZ. Commands respect.


  1.       ROCK N ROLL DOO

Target race: Race By Grins

Trainer: Michael Stanley

Driver: Anthony Butt

Slot owner: Barrett Homes

Current odds: $12

HAMILTON SAYS: It’s so good to see him with a ticket back to the Race By Grins after he had one last year, but form and niggling issues derailed his campaign. Terrific Len Smith Mile win last September and has shown glimpses of his best form this campaign. He was the first of the Aussies to head to NZ and has had plenty of time to settle in. Everyone (including me) will be watching how he goes at Cambridge on Friday. He’s a prodigious talent when right and could be the surprise packet if he runs well this week and draws an alley (because of his gate speed) in the Grins.