Day At The Track

Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star build up continues

12:03 PM 15 Oct 2013 NZDT
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Jean-Etienne Dubois and his fellow French visitors at Tabcorp Park
Jean-Etienne Dubois and his fellow French visitors at Tabcorp Park

The Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star was hailed as an outstanding success in its inaugural season but the momentum behind the southern hemisphere squaregaiting extravaganza only grew stronger with the announcement of an additional prize money boost in July.

With stakes increasing to $400,000 ($50,000 for each elimination heat and $300,000 for the final), the first qualification race of the new season will be run and won this weekend.

The winner of the D J Alexander Memorial at Albion Park on Saturday night will be exempt from ballot come Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night, guaranteeing themselves a place in the elimination heats if they choose to nominate.

And in-form ex-Victorian trotter Rainbow Jay Jay could well be a likely type to take up the challenge with current trainer Rickie Alchin already expressing a desire to target some of the Victorian feature races towards the end of the calendar year.

With the next round of qualifications less than seven days away, Tabcorp Park Melton, the home of the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star, hosted international star Jean-Étienne Dubois last Friday night.

Notwithstanding his 40 plus European Group 1 victories, Dubois is most famous for training and driving Cocktail Jet to victory in the two biggest trotting races in the world, the Prix d’Amerique in France and the Elitloppet in Sweden, both in 1996. Cocktail Jet has gone on to be one of the leading stallions in the world and has sired over 20 individual Group 1 winners.

Also at Tabcorp Park Melton on the night was French Driver, and Monté rider, Joann Lagarde.

Lagarde, who has had success in France, is now working with Craig Demmler at the Glenferrie Farm Stables and is available to take not only rides in Monté races but also drives in races.

While on the theme of the internationalisation of trotting, Chris Lang Sr has reported this week that Yield Boko has settled in well at Aldebaran Park and is currently in light work as he builds up to the 2014 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star.

The Champion Swedish trotter is currently serving mares in Australia and he has been a hit with local breeders according to Lang.

“He’s proving very popular in the breeding barn so we are probably not going to see him on the track before Christmas,” Lang said.

“He looks a million dollars and his health and overall attitude is very good. He is the real deal, in my opinion he would be as good a horse that has ever been brought out here, particularly from the northern hemisphere.”

However Tim Butt might have something to say about that with recent stable acquisition, and Danish Derby winner, Peak settling into New Zealand along with two other horses from Europe.

Butt has already suggested Peak will be set for the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star along with last year’s winner Vulcan.

“Peak has settled in great and we are likely to trial him in the next few weeks. He has already shown us a little bit so he will be set for the Great Southern Star,” Butt said.

“There’s a chance they will start during New Zealand Cup week and then we will just take them all from there.”

The second-ever Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star will be run on March 22 and for more information you can visit the website at

Blake Redden
[Harness Racing Victoria]


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