NEW Zealander VC Manoeuvre underlined his potential as Victoria Derby prospect with an eye-catching performance in Ballarat last night.
The lightly raced gelding was emphatic in taking out the Peaches Fruit Market C0 Pace, 1710m.
VC Manoeuvre ($1.60 favourite) rated 1:56.4 to remain unbeaten in three runs in Australia for the Trans Tasman stable of brothers Tim and Anthony Butt.
The son of Washington VC was unplaced in two outings in NZ, but has blossomed in Victoria, winning against his own age at Geelong and Maryborough before venturing to Ballarat.
Derby heats are set down for Melton on Saturday, February 1, with the group 1 $200,000 final a week later at the same track.
VC Manoeuvre did not get everything his own way at Bray Raceway.
The Fire Within ($2.50) resisted an early challenge from the Kiwi to lead.
Anthony Butt took a sit on the back of The Fire Within before moving in the deathseat with 1050m to run and then to the lead at the 1600m.
VC Manoeuvre held on by three metres from Missanger Management ($17.40), with The Fire Within battling on for third.
While the combination of Smythes Creek trainer Peter Tonkin and driver Gavin Lang was unable to bring VC Manoeuvre unstuck, they did finish the night on a high.
The old firm guided Racer ($7.30) to victory in the Diamond Rewards 3yo Pace, 2200m.
It was Racer’s second success since arriving from NZ, with his Australian record also featuring four minor placings in seven visits to the races.
Great Western father and daughter Peter and Kerryn Manning each trained winners on the eight-race card.
Peter further consolidated his place in the top five in the Victorian trainers’ premiership with Garabaldi Union ($9.30) in the Christies Furniture C3-C4 Pace, 2200m.
Garabaldi Union sat in the deathseat to complete a hattrick of wins – all since December 22.
Kerryn saluted with the Ballarat-owned Kickitrochris ($5.70) in the Laser Electrical C5-C6 Pace, 2200m.
This gives the five-year-old 12 winsa and 14 minor placings in 45 starts.
It was Kerryn manning’s second win of the day, having scored with Willow Robyn ($1.10 favourite) at Charlton.