MAH Sish is on track to capture back-to-back AG Hunter Cups after leading all the way in The Pure Steel, 2710m, at Ballarat harness races on Saturday night.
Showing the benefits of a water-walking training regime, Mah Sish bounced back to something like his best and again looms as a leading prospect for the group 1 $400,000 standing-start feature at Melton on Saturday.
Mah Sish last year completed the Ballarat Pacing Cup-Hunter Cup double.
New Zealand trainer Tim Butt was originally looking at the same campaign again, but after a couple of below par runs chose to go to The Pure Steel with Mah Sish – a $20,000 standing-start event designed as a key lead into the Hunter Cup. Mah Sish ($6.90) held off a late charge from Im Corzin Terror ($1.90 favourite), which galloped at the start and will consequently remain out of the draw for the Hunter Cup.
Jadahson ($21.40) led early before handing up to Mah Sish and battled on for third.
Mah Sish also becomes the second New Zealander in a row to complete the Ballarat Pacing Cup and The Pure Steel double in successive years.
Highview Tommy did the same in 2012 and last year.
Mah Sish, which has won 15 of 50 starts for $785,000 in stakes, continues the great run of Tim Butt and his reinsman brother Anthony on Ballarat Pacing Cup nights.
They also won the 2011 cup with Stunin Cullen.