Lovemeto draws five in Victoria Trotters' Derby

By Adam Hamilton

Young Kiwi horseman Dylan Ferguson is more than confident with Lovemeto ahead of Sunday’s $75,000 Group 1 Victoria Trotters’ Derby at Maryborough.

While the gelding thrashed his rivals by 31.2m in a Derby heat last Sunday, Ferguson knows the final will be a different ball game.

“The other heat was much, much stronger,” he said. “I think the first three home in that other heat would all have won our heat just as impressively,” he said.

“We needed to win as easily as we did to show we had a realistic chance in the final and hope there might be another 5-10 per cent improvement to come from a strong 2690m race like last weekend.

“He certainly improved a lot from his first run over here, but we knew that would be the case because we couldn’t find a suitable lead-up race at home.”

Lovemeto will start from barrier five in Sunday’s final with two of his key rivals – Shes Ruby Roo (one) and London To A Brick (two) – drawn inside him.

The big plus from the draw was Victorian star The Locomotive drawing the back row, which negates his greatest asset, his blazing gate speed.

“The draw is OK, but things will need to go right to make it a good draw,” he said.

“It’s not as if he’s going to stroll across to the lead like he did in the heat, not with some nice horses and a few with good gate speed drawn underneath him.

“While it’s good having The Locomotive off the back row, he’s drawn to follow through well, so I’ll have to be mindful to try and stay in front of him at the start.

“It looks a very open race and one that will be really tactical with the four big chances.

“The filly (Shes Ruby Roo) caught my eye in the other heat and she’s got the best draw of the lot. She could be the smokey.”

Ferguson’s other “raider”, classy filly Shez Bella, will also line-up at Maryborough on Sunday.

She’s drawn the outside (seven) in a small field where local star Rockinwithattitude is drawn to lead from gate five.

“I’d love to swap draws,” Ferguson laughed. “I do think she’s come on quite a bit since that Oaks (fourth) run.”

Ferguson has the pair booked a flight home to Auckland next Tuesday.

“Then we’ll work backwards from the (NZ) Derby and Oaks on December 10 as to what we do with them before then,” he said.

Another highlight of the Maryborough meeting will be the unlikely return of 2021 Inter Dominion winner Maori Law.

Trained by former Kiwis Emmett and Richard Brosnan, Maori Law hasn’t raced since finishing second in the Australasian Trotting Championship at Melton on September 10, last year.

Through a career of injury setbacks, the 10-year-old has raced just 64 times for 21 wins, 22 placings and banked $359,874.

Also resuming in the same race is former champion juvenile trotter Plymouth Chubb, who has been sidelined by injury since winning the $50,000 Knight Pistol at Melton on February 11.


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