THE MAKYBE Diva Stakes at Flemington today marks the arrival of spring in a true sense.
The build up to the Victorian Spring Carnival has already produced some significant results.
With the Melbourne Cup nominations out and Caulfield Cup weights set, the preliminaries are over and it’s time to get down to business.
And centre stage will be Darren Weir’s Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance de Lune.
The former French galloper has been the talk of the Victorian racing scene since a spectacular spring.
It is not even 12 months ago that the grey suffered a shock loss in a benchmark89 event at Warrnambool.
He has not looked back, winning four straight - building from a listed race, group 3 and two group 2s.
In what has been naural progression Puissance de Lune setps into group 1 company for the first time in the $350,000 Makybe Diva Stakes, 1600m.
He is favourite and this will tell another story in his push towards the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
BALLARAT stables have the potential to have a big say at Flemington.
It is a meeting that might well shape what direction Ballarat trainers take with their stable stars.
GO AGAIN (Robert Smerdon) R1 (3yo fillies) – Sandown Hillside winner on debut in March. First up since March. Fourth in Cranbourne trial in heavy on August 12
LATE CHARGE (Patrick Payne) R2 (3yo) – unbeaten in two starts with wins at Echuca and Flemington in July.
BACHELOR ROYAL (Andrew Payne) R3 – won four of seven starts. Nominated for Melbourne Cup.
HURDY GURDY MAN (Darren Weir) R4 – having first start since failing to finish in Launceston Cup in February.
TUSCAN FIRE (Dan O’Sullivan) R6 G1 Makybe Diva Stakes - first run in a group. Winner first-up two starts ago and solid fifth at MV last start. Entered for Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
BROKEN (Darren Weir) R7 G3 Bobbie Lewis Quality – going for three wins on end after group 3 and listed wins at past two runs.
BRITISH GENERAL (Dan O’Sullivan) R7 – resuming. On favourite track.
BALLARAT Turf Club has its annual awards night at Dowling Forest Racecourse tonight – the gala event of the club’s year.
It will recognize last season’s leading trainers, jockey and horse in Ballarat last season.
BEST FROM THE BALLARAT STABLES
OAK HEART (Darren Weir) – R6 Warracknabeal tomorrow - Sheep Hills Cup
VET TRAP (Darren Weir) – R7 Warrnambool on Monday
RED CORNER (Darren Weir) – R8 Warrnambool on Monday
BALLARAT STABLE FIRST STARTERS
EVATHREESTEP (Patrick Payne) – R7 Pakenham today – former NZer jumper with five wins in 46 race starts.
ANOTHER GIRL (Robert Smerdon) – R1 Bendigo tomorrow. 3yo filly Bel Esprit-Aranta
DAZZA’S Girl (Robert Smerdon) – R1 Bendigo tomorrow. 3yo filly Bel Esprit-Carnet Du Bal
BALLARAT STABLE WINNERS IN PAST WEEK
EVERY FAITH (Robert Smerdon) – maiden, 1313m, at Seymour on Thursday
POLITENESS (Robert Smerdon) – 0-64 hcp, 131m, at Seymour on Thursday
PINSTRIPE LANE (John Sadler) – maiden, 2060m, at Cranbourne on Wednesday
EDGE OF STORM (Darren Weir) – 0-58 hcp, 1600m, at Stawell on Tuesday
DYNAMIC BALANCE (Dan O’Sullivan) - 3yo maiden, 1500m, in Ballarat on Sunday
LIVE FOR TODAY (Darren Weir) – 0-64 hcp, 1400m, in Ballarat on Sunday
NO SONG NO SUPPER (Patrick Payne) – BM78 hcp, 3000m, in Ballarat on Sunday
STEEL BROM (Patrick Payne) – maiden, 1400m, at Mildura on Sunday
GROUP HUG (Darren Weir) – maiden, 1200m, at Mildura on Sunday
BELIEVE’N’RECEIVE (Patrick Payne) – 0-58 hcp, 1200m, at Mildura on Sunday
UP THE CREEK (Patrick Payne) – BM70 hcp, 2000m, at Mildura on Sunday
MARIANNE (Michael Kent) – BM78 hcp, 1400m, at Caulfield on Saturday
VAIN QUEEN (John Sadler) - sprint series heat, 1000m at Caulfield on Saturday
BEC SAID NO CREDIT (Darren Weir) – hcp, 1400m, at Caulfield on Saturday
+Robert Smerdon, Patrick Payne, Michael Kent and John Sadler all have satellite stables or secondary training operations in Ballarat