Day At The Track

Victorians looking to spoil the local party

08:08 AM 16 Apr 2012 NZST
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The happy connections of Mustang Mach
The happy connections of Mustang Mach
Photo: Bill Crab

Top Victorians Mr Nickel for trainer Dean Braun and Soho Valencia from the powerful Jayne Davies harness racing stable have both been nominated for this Friday night's $200,000 Group One Sky Racing Derby at Gloucester Park.

Soho Valencia, winner of the recent Group Three Gold Chalice during the prestigious Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival, is owned by leading Western Australian breeder Robert Watson and has built an imposing record of 24 starts for 15 wins and six placings, banking just on $235,000 in prizemoney from his two seasons of racing.

The addition of Soho Valencia and Mr Nickel, who easily defeated older horses last night (Sunday) at Cranbourne, will add another dimension to Friday night's Blue Riband Classic, which looked to be a match race between locally trained pacers, Im Victorious and Gracias Para Nada.

The son of Village Jasper will give Braun a two state Group One assault on Friday night with Machabiba in the Victorian Oaks Final after she won a heat at Melton on Friday night with champion reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky.

Braun had an eventful trip to the west at the end of last year which saw his two pacers arrive in the state on the morning of their first assignment, followed by an injury which prematurely ended the campaign of one of his charges, Night Of The Stars, before his two Group One targets.

However, the mission ended on a high note with a win in the Group One McInerney Ford Classic by top flight four-year-old Mustang Mach and Braun is confident he can take out another WA feature this time around.

"I couldn't be happier with the way my fella is going" said Braun.

"Last night he dashed home in 57 seconds and had the earplugs still in. Obviously we are going to meet two very good three-year-olds in Im Victorious and Gracias Para Nada, but I'm confident he'll measure up.

"It's another step up, but he has already won the Tasmanian Derby" the Lara mentor added.

Morgan Woodley, who drove Mustang Mach to victory in the Mclnerney Ford Classic for Braun, will more than likely have the job of steering Mr Nickel in his WA Derby mission.

Last Friday night saw lm Victorious turn the tables on Gracias Para Nada in the traditional WA Derby lead-up, the $50,000 Community News Group Western Gateway, reversing the result of the Caduceus Club Classic a month earlier.

Nominations for the $200,000 Group One Sky Racing WA Derby close with Racing & Wagering Western Australia tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 8am (WAST), with the all-important barrier draw being conducted at the offices of RWWA in the early afternoon.

The night will also be highlighted by an appearance of the 2012 Inter Dominion champion, lm Themightyquinn, who will parade for the public. To commemorate his historic win, free posters of 'Quinny' will be handed out to everyone on course.

Michael RADLEY

Mr Nickel's last start win at Cranbourne on April 15, 2012:

Soho Valencia's last start win at Cobram on April 12, 2012:

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