By Adam Hamilton
WE all know about the huge advantage on playing at your home ground in a major sporting event.
Queensland’s best pacer Colt Thirty One will have that and more when he tackles the most significant challenge of his career in next Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Sunshine Sprint.
As well as the overwhelming support of an adoring home crowd, Grant Dixon’s stable star has the most amazing record at his home track, Albion Park.
He’s raced 33 times at “The Creek” for 28 wins, two seconds, a third and a fourth.
And Dixon thinks he’s never had the four-year-old better.
“Everything has fallen into place with his preparation and he’s matured into the complete racehorse now,” he said. “I’m sure sheer speed is his best asset against the absolute top horses, but he’s versatile.”
Colt Thirty One capped his preparation with a dominant win over the longer 2680m trip at Albion Park last night.
“I didn’t think I could beat Northview Hustler from the draw, but when he was trapped wide and going back, I took the chance to get going and was lucky enough to find the front,” Dixon said.
“I got going fairly early and they came at him late, but he did it well and, importantly, seems to have come through it really well.
“Now we just need a draw. They are so important up here at the moment with the times we are running.”
The barrier draw for the Sunshine Sprint is Tuesday morning.
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WHEN Mark Purdon used the words “could be a bit special” about Self Assured last week, everybody took notice.
And, just seven days later, we all saw why.
Self Assured’s win, when driven by Kylie Rasmussen, in last night’s (Saturday) Group 3 JC McMullen (2138m) was mesmerizing.
To come and sit parked about the older and classy former Kiwi pacer Alta Orlando and easily beat him was a phenomenal effort.
They paced a 1min54.5sec mile rate for the 2138m, but blazed home in 55 flat and 27.7sec.
Self Assured beat Alta Orlando, who was having his first from for the Craig Cross stable, by 2.8m with another 16.2m away to third-placed Dazzle Me.
It took Bettor Delight three-year-old’s record to four wins from as many starts and affirmed his status as a rising star of the sport.
Self Assured gets this week off then heads to the $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby, most probably against stablemates Jesse Duke and Our Princess Tiffany, at Albion Park on July 20.
Our Princess Tiffany opened her Queensland campaign with a strong and hard-fought win over Miss Striesand in last night’s South-East Oaks.
Stand-in driver Kylie Rasmussen was forced to sit parked and always felt in control despite the margin only being a half-neck.
“I had to urge her a bit near the line, but apart from that she felt great,” Rasmussen said. “She hadn’t raced since June 1 and will be better for the run.”
Our Princess Tiffany backs up in the Queensland Oaks next Saturday and is also expected to tackle the boys in the Derby a week after.