Champion speedster Hooked On Scotch is the headline act in the heats of the Group 2 Warragul Cup (460m) on Friday night.
With five group race wins under his belt from only 18 starts, Hooked On Scotch (Box 2) will contest Heat 4 – Race 8, 9.16pm.
Winner of the G1 Adelaide Cup and G1 Hobart Thousand, and third in the G1 Melbourne Cup, Hooked On Scotch will face quality opposition in his heat – including Crimson Vixen (Box 7), who won the G2 Bendigo Cup and was third in the G2 Ballarat Cup.
Trained by Jason Thompson, Hooked On Scotch also holds Sandown’s 515-metre track record (28.94sec).
Prolific winner Peter Galo (Box 1) and Western Envoy (Box 8) should engage in an enthralling tussle in Heat 1 – Race 5, 8.24pm.
A winner of 38 races from 62 starts, Peter Galo is a G2 Shepparton Cup winner and holds the 350m track record at Healesville.
WATCH: Hooked On Scotch (8) lower the Sandown 515m track record in a Melbourne Cup heat.
Western Envoy is racing in rare form, having won the G2 Ballarat Cup after finishing runner-up to Whiskey Riot in the G1 Melbourne Cup.
And speaking of Whiskey Riot (Box 2), he will contest Heat 2 – Race 6, 8.42pm.
Whiskey Riot broke a Group 1 jinx in the Melbourne Cup, having finished second to his nemesis Hooked On Scotch in the Adelaide Cup, second to Sennachie in the Maturity Classic, and third to Get It Gizmo in the Topgun.
G1 Melbourne Cup finalist Jaro Bale (Box 2) and NSW raider La Grand Quality (Box 3) should stage a battle royal in Heat 3 – Race 7, 9.01pm.
Jaro Bale was also a G2 Launching Pad finalist, while La Grand Quality – Maitland 450m track record holder – made a huge impression in the G2 Ballarat Cup series, eventually finishing fourth in the final.
Sponsored by Warragul Toyota, this year’s final carries a $47,000 first prize.
The Warragul Cup series is part of the TRFM Gippsland Festival of Racing:
Friday (January 3) – Warragul Cup heats
Plus: Warragul Cup Calcutta featuring comedian Marty Fields; RSN race caller James Van de Maat; and jockey Chris Symons
Sunday (January 5) – Family Fun Day
Plus: Greyhound racing; and meet the characters of Frozen
Saturday (January 11) – Warragul Cup final
Plus: Music in the Barn; enter the $50K tipping competition; and meet AFL player Jack Riewoldt