BALLARAT will get an early taste of the Australasian Breeders Crown Series.
Bray Raceway will be the setting for the first Breeders Crown heats, with two-year-old fillies stepping out on July 26.
The ABC begins with three and two-year-old heats at Port Pirie in South Australia, on June 6.
Ballarat and District Trotting Club will for the second year in a row host Breeders Crown semi-finals on Saturday, August 16.
VICTORIAN Derby finalist Motor Smoker reinforced his class by joining the $20,000 Colin and Heather Holloway 3yo Classic, 1609m, in Ballarat on Saturday night.
From the Melton stable of Susan Hunter, Motor Smoker ($5.20) finished hard to come from midfield in a mile rate of 1:55.8.
The Victorian Derby heat winner edged out a brake on Ideal Majority ($26.50) by a half neck, with Major Crocker ($1.80 favourite) a close-up third.
Motor Smoker is target for major tilt at the Australasian Breeders Crown.
He won a heat in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ series last season before running second in a consolation.
Motor Smoke was the first leg of a driving double for Michael Bellman.
Earlier in the night, Daryl Douglas drove a treble.
These wins included the Emma Stewart-trained Misteronetwo ($4.50) in a C6/better Pace, 2200m.
Mister Onetwo is unbeaten in three starts this preparation, taking his lifetime standings to 13 wins from 31 starts for almost $70,000.
ALLENDALE father and son Allan and Adam Stephens are enjoying a fine run with four-year-old mares Pacific Maddi and Union Belle.
Pacific Maddi ($5.20) made it nine wins by the mare for the season with her third victory in a C1 pace, 2195m, at Ararat harness races on Sunday.
She led and now has the three lifetime successes with nine minor placings for $17,000.
PATRICK Payne has been enjoying a fine jumps season, but there is much more to his team than hurdlers and steeplechasers.
First-starter Issawi ($5.50) saluted for the Plumpton/Ballarat stable in a 3yo maiden, 1000m, at Warracknabeal on Monday.
Meanwhile, Darren Weir rarely goes away from a race meeting without a win.
Well at least this is the way it often seems.
Intriguingly, March To Victory (($4) ended a lean time for the stable with his win in a 0-58 handicap, 1600m, at Warracknabeal on Monday.
This was Weir’s first win in nine days and only his second from his latest 50 starters.
BALLARAT trainer John Thom converted a run of minor placings into a win with Unbelievable Buy ($13) in a showcase 0-64 for fillies and mares, 2000m, on the Geelong synthetic track on Friday.
Unbelievable Buy had finished second in three of her previous four starts for the owner-trainer.
The four-year-old made her debut on the last day of last season and in her first three starts finished third.
She broke her maiden status at Yarra Valley on December 20.