THE first Australasian Breeders Crown semi-final line-ups for Ballarat on Saturday, August 16, will take final shape at Geelong on Wednesday night.
Two-year-old repechages will be contested at Geelong – two for fillies and two for colts/geldings.
The top finishers from the repechages will join heat winners from across Australia and New Zealand in two semi-finals in each division at Bray Raceway.
Mach Doro, Mojo Major, Tasmanian One Mans Pass, and Burnaholeinmypocket and New South Wales visitors Pompidou, Fransciso de Gore and Birdy Mach are likely to be the main contenders for the remaining berths in the semi-finals for colts and geldings.
On the fillies’ front, New Zealand raiders Katy Perry and Cyclone Kate, NSW’s Ameretto and Smooth Showgirl, The Final Frontier and Missed By Red lead the charge.
The three-year-old repechages for fillies and colts/geldings will be run at Kilmore on Thursday night.
Heat winners already qualified for semi-finals:
2yo pacing fillies: Bamako Mali (Menangle), Big Lucy (Ballarat), Feel The Faith (Brisbane)) Helens Bonus (Port Pirie) Joannes A Delight (Cambridge, NZ), Lady Willougby (Perth), Linda Lovegrace (Addington, NZ), Niki No No (Ballarat), Safety Girl (Launceston), Soho Tokyo (Ballarat)
2yo pacing colts/geldings: Artistic Flite (Menangle), Boasson Hagen (Launceston), Controversial (Brisbane), Field Marshal (Cambridge, NZ), Follow The Stars (Addington, NZ), Hez The One (Adelaide), Its Just Kenny (Shepparton), Kept Under Wraps (Shepparton), Ominous Warning (Menangle), Shoe Me The Bling (Shepparton), The Odd Lover (Perth)
3yo pacing fillies: Barynya Launceston), Jungle Jewel (Perth), Nike Franco (Brisbane), Ocean Diva (Menangle), Punch Line (Adelaide), Quick Draft (Bendigo), Sabellian (Addington, NZ), Whereibylong (Bendigo), Zeta Bromac (Auckland)
3yo colts/geldings: Alleluia (Brisbane), Braeview Bomber (Perth), Hectorjayjay, Luttucerockthem (Menangle), Major Crocker (Port Pirie), Messini (Bendigo), Resurgent Spirit (Hobart), Saloon Passage (Menangle), Sky Major (Auckland), Will Mach My Word (Bendigo), Zakspatrol (Addington).
JOCKEY Ben Melham believes Ballarat trainer Darren Weir has another potential cups horse in Backbone.
Backbone ($4.60) provided Weir with a winning start to his Melbourne metropolitan trainers’ premiership defence at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Melham positioned him in fifth behind a trio up front who set a decent tempo.
He moved into the race strongly approaching the home turn and went on to win over Zabeelionaire ($11).
Melham believes next year’s Adelaide Cup could be a suitable long-range target for Backbone should connections decide to look that way.
“I think if he was to target a race like the Adelaide Cup he would be competitive,” Melham told AAP.
Weir won 86 city races last season to win his first metro title.