The sport’s superstars put on an ‘eight carat’ showcase in today’s Pink Diamond preliminaries – almost 220km apart – at Warragul and Ballarat.
A total of 24 qualifiers were held across the two venues today, with first and second placegetters making to through to next week’s rich finals night at Bendigo.
First-up was the ‘diamond-cut’ Warragul (Twilight) meeting, highlighted by a Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter heat (460m).
In a race that resembled a Group event, G3 Speed Star winner and G3 Launching Pad runner-up Aston Rupee (Glenn Rounds) revealed he’s the sprint king in waiting with a right royal 25.38sec win.
A winner of nine races from 15 starts, and unbeaten in three starts over 460m at Warragul, Aston Rupee defeated a gallant Dream Wizard ($23.40) – who only two nights earlier was third to Ferdinand Boy in ‘The Horizon at Sale – by 2.7L in 25.38sec.
Powerhouse Equalizer finished fourth in the race, but trainer Jason Thompson had better fortune with Aston Fastnet ($1.60F) – a litter brother of Aston Rupee – who sailed away with a Rookie Sprinter heat (460m) in a flying 25.35sec, while rising star Rebellious ($3.00) defied his rivals with a slick 22.28sec victory in a Rookie Short Course heat (400m).
Aston Fastnet, a G3 Speed Star finalist, registered his seventh win from 16 starts while Rebellious is now six from seven and three from three over 400m at Warragul.