A MASSIVE day of New Year's Day racing will see plenty of Bendigo and Kyneton region-trained gallopers in action at five venues around the state.
While the majority are bound for Hanging Rock, a sprinkling of trainers will target wins at Mornington, Terang and cup meetings at Burrumbeet and Merton.
In-form trainers Brent Stanley and George Osborne will look to carry positive momentum into the new year following their recent runs of success.
Fresh from a huge win at Moonee Valley on Saturday with Magic Millions contender It's Kind of Magic, Sutton Grange trainer Stanley will saddle up a trio of good chances at Hanging Rock in Thunderbolt Two, Shakam and Battleborn.
Just days after landing a treble at Kerang on Boxing Day, Kyneton trainer Osborne will chase further success with Mint On Moseley and Uptown Lola at Hanging Rock, and Uptown Lily at Burrumbeet.
Also headed to Burrumbeat is Bendigo trainer Danny Curran, who has Fair Go lining up in the $25,000 cup, over 1800m.
The five-year-old gelding enters the race in reasonable form following a second over 1800m at Kerang on Boxing Day.
At Hanging Rock, Bendigo trainer Jarrod Robinson is eyeing back-to-back wins with Jeune Astra following the six-year-old mare's success at Kerang.
On the picnic circuit, Bendigo jockey Craig Kirkpatrick will attempt a record fifth Merton Cup victory, when he partners the Aileen Vanderfeen-trained maiden Dante Pierro in the $6000 feature race.
Vanderfeen, who has a pair of wins and four placings from just nine runners this picnic season, was hopeful more than confident of success with the five-year-old gelding, but was insistent 'anything can happen' given the wide-open nature of picnic racing.
"He's a maiden, but with not many horses in it, we thought it was worth a shot," the Bendigo trainer said.
"He's a staying maiden and has a light weight, so you never know. The picnics give everyone a shot.
"Craig had to get down to the minimum weight to ride him or the other one we were considering taking (Dane's Ryker), but he got a virus and is staying home.
"He would have been a certainty to win it, which is a pity."
With just four horses in the stable, Vanderfeen said she was pleased with her results so far this picnic season, with Dane's Ryker the obvious standout with his two wins at Yea and Alexandra.
The Bendigo trainer was more optimistic about the chances of her other runner Magic Ticket, who will contest a 1600m open race, in a small field of four horses.
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