King and Queen ready for Group One clash

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    MAORI TIME - Photo HRV

    IT SEEMS appropriate on the 20th anniversary of the Bill Collins Sprint star trotter Keystone Del is out to replicate a feat of the inaugural winner.

    Trained and driven by legendary New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon, Pride Of Petite thrashed her rivals in 1996 by covering the mile in 1:59.7 around Moonee Valley.

    The mare returned the following year to finish second behind Chiola Cola before recapturing her title in 1998.

    Unlike Pride Of Petite, Keystone Del lost his throne be default, with his stablemate Maori Time quickly jumping in the ‘seat’.

    Successful in the 2014 edition of the Aldebaran Park-sponsored Group One, Keystone Del missed last year’s running, which was annexed by Maori Time when she led throughout in a record 1:55.

    But the ‘King’ of Australian trotting is ready to regain his mantle at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night according to trainer Brent Lilley.

    “Maori Time beat Keystone Del a fortnight ago when she led and he worked in the ‘death’ but she did have fitness on her side,” Lilley said. “Keystone Del has improved since, while Maori Time is in a zone.

    “It’s likely they will be in similar roles this week, with Maori shaping as the leader from two and Keystone to come from the outside of the front row.

    “If she leads as you’d expect, she will take a lot of running down, but he is just the trotter to do it.”

    • PAUL COURTS

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