The Group 3 TAB Great Chase series gets underway at Bendigo on Saturday night, with the event continuing its proud tradition of showcasing some of Victoria’s finest young sprinters and benefiting community groups from across the state.
Two heats of the 1-5 wins Vic Bred series will be staged at Bendigo, with the action continuing at an array of tracks next week, leading into the semi-finals, to be held at The Meadows on Wednesday, October 13, and the $47,000 to-the-winner final at the same venue one week later, Wednesday, October 20.
Saturday’s second heat, race 7 at 8.38pm, features the clash between Idolize (Box 4), which has won three of her five starts for Peter Presutto, and Jason Thompson’s In The Spotlight (Box 7), the winner of five from seven.
Idolize, a daughter of 2018 Melbourne Cup winner My Redeemer and Hightan, bred and raced by Devon Meadows-based Presutto’s friend and neighbour Michelle Nolan, has led in each of her starts and early speed will again hold the key to her chances at her 500m debut.
“She has to lead and hopefully she can keep going,” said Presutto.
“I broke her in myself and she’s always been a natural out of the boxes.
“She was as good as race dogs when she was 12 months old. You can do all the work you want with them but I believe they can either do it or they can’t.
WATCH: Idolize (5) gave nothing else a chance with a high-flying 21.96sec all-the-way victory at Warrnambool on September 9.
“She’s never had to come from behind. I haven’t got anything that can go with her.
“I noticed the comment that the last 40m might be a problem for her on Saturday but we’ll see. I can’t see that it’s going to be an issue but you never know. She is going to get stronger because she’s only 19 months old but she’s not weak.”
Presutto provided an excellent guide to Idolize’s chances, saying very little separates her and boom kennelmate Dynamic Prince, which has won four of his five starts and ran a close third to superstar Tiggerlong Tonk in a G2 Healesville Cup heat at just his third start.
Unfortunately for Presutto, Dynamic Prince, a son of Dyna Double One and Peta Pitstop, isn’t eligible for the Great Chase as he was bred in NSW.
“There’s not much between them at all,” said Presutto.
“Idolize has a lot more pace out of the boxes than he does and I don’t know if there’s that much difference in their strength.
“I was happy with Dynamic Prince’s run in the Healesville Cup heats and he’s definitely a better dog for the experience.
“He’s won his next couple of races at Shepparton and beaten some good dogs, including Soda Titan, which is in the other Great Chase heat on Saturday.
“He’s done everything he’s had to do so far and now I’m tossing up whether to give him a crack in town or give him another couple of runs in the bush.”
Jason Thompson also has one of the key chances in the opening Bendigo heat, race 5 at 7.59pm, in True Collinda (Box 5), the winner of five from 11, with Jim Auld’s Soda Titan (Box 7), which has won five from 14, the other major player.
Bendigo will retain the Saturday night spotlight for the next fortnight, staging its G2 Bendigo Cup series, with heats on October 9 and the final October 16.
“She was as good as race dogs when she was 12 months old. You can do all the work you want with them but I believe they can either do it or they can’t.”
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