SATURDAY night’s Breeders’ Crown semi-finals have thrown up an early treat.
With eight qualifiers to be contested at Ballarat, Australasia’s two best fillies are set to clash in what shapes as a mouth-watering dual.
Top local youngster Heavens Trend will compete against New Zealand star Our Dream About Me, with the encounter to decide which will be the pre-draw favourite for the Final at Tabcorp Park Melton.
Both multiple feature winners, Heavens Trend has won six of her eight starts, while Our Dream About Me is unbeaten from six outings.
Ironically, one of Heavens Trend’s defeats – in the Qbred Final at Albion Park – has been her biggest run.
Just when she appeared to be ready to coast to the lead leaving the back straight, the two-year-old broke stride before recovering to run an eye-catching fourth behind Special Moment.
Heavens Trend quickly bounced back to win her Breeders’ Crown heat at Kilmore in effortless fashion.
Our Dream About Me made her Australian debut when she was a class above her rivals in a Menangle-based heat.
Much to her connections’ delight, Heavens Trend has fared better in the draw and will begin from the pole for leading trainer Emma Stewart.
Our Dream About Me will come from the second row for Inter Dominion winning horsewoman Natalie Rasmussen.
“The draw has worked out quite well,” Stewart said. “There is a little bit out speed on the front row, but she comes out quick enough and should be able to lead from there.
“It’s definitely the stronger of the two heats.”
Despite her extensive travel, which also includes the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge at Menangle, Heavens Trend is in “great shape” according to Stewart.
In fact, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven is expected to improve on her heat win.
“She has handled the interstate trips like a veteran,” Stewart said. “If anything, it has helped mature her a little.
“After Queensland she had a bit of an easy time of it leading up to her heat and has trained on well. She’s in great shape and ready to go.”
Stewart also has Whirily School in the qualifier, with the feature race winner to come out of gate five.
“She will need a bit of luck from there as it can be a tricky draw,” Stewart said. “We’ve also got Celebrity Guest in the first semi, but the outside of the second row makes it tough.
“With the right run she can make her way into the Final.”
Stewart and Rasmussen are also set to battle for honours in the two-year-old colts’ and geldings’ series.
Vicbred Super Series champion Shadow Sax is engaged in the second semi for Stewart, while Rasmussen has the unbeaten Our Waikiki Beach in the first.
Successful at his 10 starts, the son of Somebeachsomewhere should be untroubled to extend his winning streak from barrier four, while Shadow Sax has to overcome gate 10.
“The back line hasn’t helped, but he has a done a great job all season and I can’t see any reason for that to change,” Stewart said. “Our Waikiki Beach is obviously the one to beat in that series.”
- PAUL COURTS