CHRISTEN Me is primed to give New Zealand a fourth-consecutive Ballarat Pacing Cup.
Astute Kiwi trainer Cran Dalgety will launch the outstanding Christen Me’s next Australian campaign in the group 1 $175,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, 2710m, on Saturday, January 25.
The five-year-old is aiming to follow in the footsteps of fellow New Zealand raiders Stunin Cullen (2011), Highview Tommy (2012) and Mah Sish (2013) as cup winners at Bray Raceway.
Dalgety and reinsman Dexter Dunn have campaigned Christen Me twice in Australia previously.
He won the group 2 Hondo Grattan in Sydney in February last year before blitzing his rivals in the group 1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at Menangle.
He returned late last year for a second to Beautide in the group 1 $750,000 Miracle Mile and in his first Victorian appearance a third to For A Reason in the group 1 $400,000 Victoria Cup at Melton.
Dalgety indicated on Victoria Cup night he would be taking his stable star back to New Zealand and then making another trip to Australia, with the Ballarat Pacing Cup his first target. These plans have been confirmed this week.
Christen Me’s biggest win in New Zealand has been the $150,000 Emerald for four-year-olds – one of three group 1 victories there. Dalgety has been a regular visitor to Ballarat over many years, last year running Four Starzzz Flash in major support race The Pure Steel on Cup Night.
With the cup again the main lead-up to the group 1 $400,000 AG Hunter Cup at Melton on February 1, Ballarat and District Trotting Club is again confident of attracting the cream of Australia’s best pacers.
The club has the likes of all-time great Smoken Up and his heir apparents Bitobliss and Caribbean Blaster, plus last season’s cup winner, Mah Sish, at the head of the list to line up at Bray Raceway, with the cup returning to its traditional Saturday night timeslot after being on a Friday night last year.
Smoken Up and Caribbean Blaster run in tonight’s group 1 $125,000 South Australian Cup, while Bitobliss and Mah Sish are starting in the group 2 $50,000 Bendigo Cup tonight. The standing start $20,000 Pure Steel and $20,000 heats of the Australasian Trotting Championship will again be the main support events on the program.