It’s been over 10 months in the making but last season’s Melton Plate winner will make his racetrack return to Tabcorp Park Melton this Friday night.
The winner of seven straight races last season, including the rich McInerney Ford 4YO Classic, was defeated at his last run in the Gold Nugget in his two-start Perth campaign.
Buthas Chancellor Cullen back and ready for action in the 2760-metre stand start Gammalite.
It might seem a big assignment first up, but his trainer is going in quietly confident off the back of two strong trial performances at Victorian HQ, a track he is unbeaten at.
“He had a trial a fortnight ago and trialled well. He went around again Monday night behind the strands and went away good and was good on the clock; Chris (Alford, driver) said he was never out of second gear and he’s works been good,” Braun said.
“2700 doesn’t really worry me, he’s fairly forward and been in work a long time so he is up in grade a little bit but he’s shown before he’s a pretty nice horse.”
It’s the first step in a five-year-old season where the Lara trainer won’t be afraid to tackle the best of the best when the opportunity presents.
The Gammalite is essentially a mini-Hunter Cup and it begs the question of whether the prestigious Group 1 is in the back of the connections minds.
“We are definitely thinking about the Hunter Cup later in the season. We’ll probably come out of here and go to the Melton Plate and then races like the Hunter Cup,” Braun said.
“I won’t hammer him all year with them but we’ll pick the eyes out of the ones we think best suit him.”
Chancellor Cullen is also likely to be joined by his stablemate Rule Like A King in the Melton Plate.
The four-year-old son ofhas continued to improve and impress since joining the elite stable and surrounded by talented horses, he has more than held his own.
A hit and run mission to Menangle saw Rule Like A King take down the promising Tasmanian Pachacuti just a week after that horse was chasing down Bit Of A Legend.
And now he will line up at Bendigo on Saturday night in the first leg of the Quaddie.
“I was probably going to tip him out at the end of the season but he’s just going too well. We’ve decided to keep him in and he’s on track for the Melton Plate also,” Braun said.
“He’s come a long way since we’ve had him and he just keeps stepping up. He’s last run at Menangle he beat the Breeders Crown runner up so we’ve given him a little freshen up and he’s trained really well this week.”
by Blake Redden
Harness Racing Victoria