Queen hot fave for Matriarch

By Adam Hamilton

Gifted former Kiwi mare Queen Elida will get a break after racing at Melton on Saturday night.

Brent Lilley’s stable star is a hot favourite to win the Group 2 Matriarch for trotting mares despite drawing awkwardly inside the back row.

Then she is out to the paddock while Lilley and connections map out a feature race splurge for late this year and early next.

Targets are set to include the Inter Dominion and Great Southern Star as Queen Elida continues her march towards potentially being Australia’s best trotter.

“There’s not a lot for her after this so it’s a good time to get a break,” Lilley said. “She doesn’t need a break, she’s great and came through that last win in great style, but it fits the plans best to have a rest after this one.”

Lilley isn’t too concerned about drawing inside the back row (gate eight) on Saturday night.

“I’m sure Chris (Alford, driver) will just keep her out of trouble and get away from the inside, even if that means giving away some ground,” he said.

The Inter Dominion being in Victoria and Queen Elida’s constitution make the series a very likely target.

“That’s where we are headed, all going well,” Lilley said. “Then there are big races, like the Great Southern Star, early next year,” Lilley said.

“She’s only a four-year-old, but she thrives on racing and usually bounces out of her box the next day, so that gives you the confidence to look at a tough series like the Inter Dominion.”

Also at Melton, Greg Sugars has opted to drive Chariots Of Fire winner Better Eclipse ahead of classy stablemate Triple Eight in the Blacks A Fake free-for-all.

It’s the last lead-up run for both pacers before heading to Queensland for races on July 9.

“I’m going with Better Eclipse and Anthony Butt will drive Triple Eight,” Sugars confirmed.

Triple Eight has the better draw (gate four), while Better Eclipse is off the back row (nine).

The other watch runners are Like A Wildfire (gate two) and Victoria Cup winner Max Delight, who is resuming from gate nine.

An impressive win from Like A Wildfire could see him join stablemates Ladies In Red, Beyond Delight and Maajida on a plane to Queensland on July 8.

That trio sharpened-up for the trip with trials at Melton last Monday night.

Ladies In Red ran her last half in 53.4sec from last to finish second to classy stablemate and leader, Honolua Bay.

Beyond Delight won his trial and just keeps emerging as a potential Grand Circuit horse.

Ladies In Red and Beyond Delight will join Better Eclipse in the $305,000 Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park on July 9.

Also in that race will be Bernie Hewitt’s buzz three-year-old Ripp, who boasts eight wins from nine starts.

Ripp resumes from a let-up in the Redcliffe Derby on Saturday night, the race Krug was so amazing winning last year.

On the same card, former top class Kiwi pacers Mach Shard (20m) and Turn It Up (10m) are the only handicapped runners in a strong $106,070 Group 1 Redcliffe Cup.

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