Daylesford trainer Mick Barby has never flinched when it comes to chasing big feature races with It Is Billy.
Barby has lined up It Is Billy against the best in Victoria’s biggest races, including the AG Hunter Cup and Victoria Cup.
While It Is Billy might now be nine years of age, Barby’s approach remains the same and it is likely to see the gelding contesting the group 1 $100,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup on Saturday, January 20, for a third year in a row.
As Barby says: “why not?” Especially when you have a horse as tightly assessed as It Is Billy.
A winner of the 2016 Geelong Cup and 2015 Melton Cup, It Is Billy rejoins the country cups circuit at Hamilton on Sunday and Barby has no doubt whatever he does he will be better for the run.
It Is Billy Has not raced since December 9, but did have have a solid trial in top company in Ballarat last Saturday.
He will start from outside the front row in a field of seven at Hamilton.
As well as having the Ballarat Cup in mind, Barby has also nominated It Is Billy for the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton a week later, a race he contested two years ago.
Ballarat Pacing Cup nominations close on Monday, with the field declared on Tuesday.
The Cup meeting will also include Victoria Derby heats.
BALLARAT district trots stables are tackling feature races across three states on Saturday.
Cardigan trainer Emma Stewart has two leading hopes going around at Globe Derby Park in Adelaide.
Shadow Sax is a short-priced favourite in the group 1 $100,000 South Australian Cup, 2645m.
The five-year-old has strung together six wins, including the Stawell and Geelong Cups in his past two runs.
His rivals include Tee Cee Bee Macray and Sams The Master from the new Myrniong stable of Jess Tubbs.
Stewart also has Yankee Roller, unbeaten in four starts, in the group 3 $30,000 SA Derby, 2230.
Stewart will also have an eye on Major Secret in the Shepparton Cup on Saturday night and Berisari in the Hamilton Cup on Sunday.
Burrumbeet’s Michael Stanley is back in Sydney with just the one target.
He has emerging mare Macey Jayde in the group 3 $30,000 Raith Memorial, 1609m, at Menangle on Saturday night.
Macey Jayde has gone from strength to strength since joining Stanley’s stable with four wins in a row.