MILLION dollar horses Sushi Sushi and Auckland Reactor are confirmed starters for Saturday night’s $50,000 group two Bendigo Pacing Cup at Lord's Raceway.
Auckland Reactor has won $1.7 million in prizemoney with Sushi Sushi collecting $1.04 million to date.
Another cup runner Highview Tommy completes a superstar trio having earned $949,304 in career prizemoney.
Reigning Bendigo Pacing Cup champion Decorated Jasper will return to defend his crown.
Heza Trick, Saint Flash and Tanabi Bromac will carry local hopes into the cup.
Other top-line horses in the field include Mustang Mach, Mah Sish, and Highview Tommy.
The full field in barrier order is: Composed (first emergency) 1; Auckland Reactor 2, Heza Trick 3, Highview Tommy 4, Motu Crusader 5, Saint Flash 6, Tanabi Bromac 7, Mustang Mach 8, Sushi Sushi 9, Mah Sish 10, Decorated Jasper 11, Bellas Delight 12.
Bendigo Harness Racing Club general manager David Aldred said the field was the best Bendigo had assembled in years.
“We’ve got every top horse you could hope to get, with the exception of Smoken Up and Carribean Blaster,” he said.
“Carribean Blaster is going to South Australia.”
Sushi Sushi, which won 14 races in a row from August, 2010 to January, 2012, will no doubt be highly fancied when markets for the Bendigo Pacing Cup are released later this week.
The horse that broke Sushi Sushi’s winning streak – Highview Tommy in last year’s Ballarat Pacing Cup – will also have admirers.
But the talking point in the lead-up to the race is likely to be the presence of Auckland Reactor.
A winner of 32 races from 51 starts, the New Zealand stallion is now in the twilight of his career, but was once regarded as one of the best pacers in the southern hemisphere.
Now an eight-year-old, Auckland Reactor is plagued by inconsistency on the track, but still has the ability to show glimpses of form which earned him New Zealand Horse of the Year honours in 2008-09.
“He’s a bit of a enigma, but he’s still a horse that draws a crowd and draws plenty of comment,” Aldred said of the Kiwi.
Auckland Reactor will be having his first start in Australia since finishing seventh behind Im Themightyquinn in the Inter Dominion in March at Perth’s Gloucester Park.
The odds will be against Auckland Reactor at Lord’s Raceway on Saturday night, but it will be a privilege for the Bendigo public to see the champion in the flesh.
Should Strathfieldsaye trainer Glenn Douglas accept, locals will be able to cheer Saint Flash for a home town victory.
Saint Flash ran a credible seventh in Sunday’s Horsham Cup.
The other feature race on the card is the $30,000 Group Two Maori Mile for trotters, which also attracted a superb list of nominations.
Gun trotter I Didn’t Do It will take his place in the field for trainer Merv Williamson despite concerns the horse might not race at Bendigo.
Mister Zion, Aleppo Sunrise, Vulcan, My Escapee and Earl Of Mot should ensure the race lives up to its reputation.
The final field for the Maori Mile in barrier order is: Lightning Joy 1, Cold Sister 2, Earl Of Mot 3, Trottn On The Ritz 4, Armed Guard 5, I Didn't Do It 6, Si Capisco 7, Backas Cobber 8, Aleppo Sunrise 9, Mister Zion 10, Vulcan 11, My Escapee 12.
The first race on cup night will be run at 6.30pm with the last race at 10.57pm.