SPRINTER of the moment Aston Dee Bee will be looking to win his second Group race in as many weeks after drawing box one in Saturday’s Group 2 Ballarat Cup Final (450m).
The son of Barcia Bale and Aston Elle was again the fastest qualifier, powering clear to score in 25.27 on a track hammered with showers for most of the meeting.
The Ray Borda-owned chaser has again drawn the coveted red draw in a field full of sprinting stars, and has been installed as the $2 favourite with SuperTAB.
Aston Dee Bee will be one of three runners for trainer Seona Thompson, who also puts the polish on Big Flood and Bewildering, who have drawn boxes six and five, respectively.
Big Flood returns to the Group arena for the first time since running third in this year’s Group 1 Golden Easter Egg – missing four months of racing mid-year, winning eight of his 10 starts since resuming.
Bewildering will again have to contend with an awkward draw after his 25.35 heat win over Blackpool Chuck.
The son of Black Magic Opal and Outlandish ticked over the quarter of a million mark in prizemoney and will compete in his sixth Group final from his last nine starts.
Judicial Man has qualified for his second Ballarat Cup, and will hope to go one better after finishing second to Zambora Brockie in last year’s version.
The son of Knocka Norris and All Fired Up defeated the likes of Adelaide Cup winner Raw Ability and the in-form Hone In to qualify for his fourth Country Cup final.
Trainer Anthony Azzopardi will be looking to win consecutive Ballarat Cups after three-time Group winner Ando’s Mac ran down Monster Fish to give himself an opportunity to break through the $700,000 mark.
The son of El Grand Senor and Brook’s Doll last took out a Group race in January, defeating Aston Bolero in the Group 2 Warragul Cup.
Jimmy Newob (box four) and Kouta Mayhem (box eight) will both be chasing their first victory at Group level when they take their place in Saturday’s final.
Both chasers have placed at Group 1 level, and will have to overcome one of the better Ballarat Cups seen in many years to break their duck.
Striker Light was the only female to qualify for the Ballarat Cup after a seven and a half length heat win, but was withdrawn early in the week due to injury.
The reigning Golden Easter Egg winner will be replaced by the Angela Langton-trained Chardy, who ran an eye-catching second behind Jimmy Newob in his qualifier.