BENDIGO reinsman Chris Svanosio hopes Endsin A Party can recapture the form that earned the five-year-old a feature race win in Geelong last year in this weekend's $14,500 Boort Trotters Cup (2612m).
Svanosio, who will enter the meeting in red-hot form following a double for his stable with Delightful Mia and Beta Hanoverdakash at Bendigo on Thursday night, will drive the Brad Stevens-trained gelding for the 15th time on Sunday.
He was in the sulky when Endsin A Party claimed the biggest win of his career in the $12,000 McNamara Memorial Trotters Cup (2570m) at Geelong last November.
Two of the trotters' six wins for Bendigo trainer Stevens have been achieved when he has been paired with Svanosio.
"His form has been a little bit patchy lately, but he's back off the front, which is great," Svanosio said.
"It's probably the smallest track in Victoria, so if he can find the front and be on the pegs, it will definitely be an advantage for him."
But even the Endsin A Party's best form might not be a match for the class of the Brent Lilley-trained Stress Factor, who is chasing his fifth win in seven starts since arriving in Australia last July.
A consistent run of form for the star four-year-old has been punctuated by a pair of group 1 wins in the $75,000 Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough, $70,000 Breeders Crown Series Final at Melton last August, and his short-priced success in the Ararat Trotters Cup.
Other leading hopes include the Zac Steenhuis-trained Jericho's Trumpet, who is racing consistently, and will be driven by the in-form Ellen Tormey, who picked up a driving win at Cobram on Friday, and Wangaratta Trotters Cup winner Belts.
Svanosio and Tormey will both be engaged in the day's other Cup event, the $14,500 Boort Pacing Cup (2250m).
Fresh from her double last Sunday, with a win apiece at Wagga Wagga and Wangaratta, Tormey will be aboard Our Summer Bay, who has gained a start after the scratching of the early favourite Islandspecialmajor, while Svanosio will partner long-shot Beach Boy Adios for Bendigo trainer John Gilbertson.
With the Cup meeting falling on St Patrick's Day, Boort Harness Racing Club president John Campbell said the club had fully embraced the Irish theme for its nine-race meeting.
He said the club remained proud of its status as the first to offer equal prize money for its trotting and pacing cup events, which came into effect about nine years ago.
"That's been a real plus for us over the years and has been well received," Campbell said.
A big day of family entertainment will include performances by Bendigo vocalist Susan Foley and her three-piece band, fashions on the field - including an Irish theme category - as well as a huge climbing dragon, yabby racing, pony trots an a playground for the children.
The first of nine races is at 12.20pm, with the last at 5.33pm. The expected top temperature in Boort on Sunday is 32 degrees.
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