AFTER a pair of Group 3 wins aboard Tough Monarch, Chris Svanosio will chase Group 1 riches in the Bill Collins Trotters Sprint (1720m) at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.
Svanosio will again team up with the late-developing Rickie Alchin-trained trotter, who has struck top form in the latter half of 2018.
Back-to-back wins at Menangle in August were followed by a trip south to Victoria, where the eight-year-old gelding notched up instant success in the Group 3 TAB Coulter Crown at Melton on August 31.
A week later, Tough Monarch added a second Melbourne feature win in the Group 3 Maori's Idol Trotters Free For All.
Svanosio said another big performance from Tough Monarch against the likes of the Andy Gath-trained star McLovin, Red Hot Tooth, Big Jack Hammer and Cruisin Around would earn the eight-year-old gelding a well-deserved trip to New Zealand.
"He's a real chance. There's about four or five, who have real good gate speed, so I would say we will all be trying to lead," he said.
"Rickie Alchin is bringing him down from Sydney and tells me he is really well.
"If he goes well, and I'm sure he will, he will go to New Zealand after this run."
Wins in his past four starts have boosted Tough Monarch's career record to 19 wins and eight placings from 53 starts, for earnings of $192,561.
Svanosio will have one of his own horses targeting a big race win on Group 1 Victoria Cup night, with Magicool backing up in a $20,000 NR 80 to 100 trot after a second-place in the Group 3 Kilmore Trotters Cup behind Cruisin Around.
The six-year-old gelding, who is a winner of 11 of his 20 career starts, will start on the second row, alongside the likely favourite Jilliby Babavska, from the Paddy Lee stable.
"I thought he was fantastic in the Kilmore Cup in only his 20th start over the two miles," Svanosio said.
"Two-mile racing is for really good, seasoned, tough horses - the only way you can really step up to that class is by racing a bit.
"If we can keep him sound and happy, there will be a lot of good races around for him."
The Bendigo region's leading trainer Glenn Douglas will have six runners on Victoria Cup night, including Kotare Mahdi, Ozzie Bogan, Goodboy Cowboy, Vandanta, Valentina Brave and Jayedgar, while Shaun McNaulty will have four (Hashtag, Kimmywho, Fratellino and Allies Mate).
Longlea's Matthew Gath (Ball Park), Bruce Morgan (Bonus Play) and Aaron Bain (Ideal World) have one apiece.
Meanwhile, Ross Graham (Major Manbar) and Laurie Wills (Lets Went) both scored wins on Thursday night's program at Ballarat to continue a productive week for the Bendigo racing fraternity.
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