Iconic Warrnambool trainer Norm McCullagh – the man behind the immortal four-time G1 Sandown Cup champ Bold Trease – never tires of chasing group race glory.
McCullagh, who turns 80 next January, has litter sisters Crimson Vixen (Box 8) and Delta Rhode (Box 3) in heats of the G2 Ballarat Cup (450m) on Saturday night.
“I think they’ll both be competitive, and represent good value for punters, but the reality is they’re a little bit underdone,” was McCullagh’s frank assessment.
“Crimson Vixen has only recently resumed from a lay-off after sustaining a hock injury and is not in the form that won her the Bendigo Cup. But then again, they can make a liar of you.”
However, McCullagh says Crimson Vixen (pictured above) is suited out wide, and if she comes out running will be in it for a long way.
A faultless beginner, Crimson Vixen has notched two wins from four starts at Ballarat, with a sizzling 25.00sec PB. She is also undefeated in two starts from box eight.
But the Cup heat will only be her third start since winning the G2 Bendigo Cup (425m) in early July.
Crimson Vixen, a winner of 13 races from 22 starts, has won four of her past five starts. A three-time group race finalist, she also finished third in the G2 Warrnambool Cup (450m).
Similarly, McCullagh says if Delta Rhode comes out with them she will acquit herself well.
“She was a run short last week; you’d expect her to get down to something like 25.10sec. Whether that’s good enough, we’ll have to wait and see.”
A winner of nine races from 19 starts, Delta Rhode has a 25.11sec Ballarat PB. She has won three of her past four starts.
WATCH: Crimson Vixen (2) wins the 2019 G2 Bendigo Cup.
WATCH: Delta Rhode (8) clock a slick 25.11sec at Ballarat in October.