BENDIGO harness racing owner and occasional trainer Peter Cole is eyeing next month's Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Tabcorp Park Melton with his star pacer Major Jodi.
The $100,000 feature will be run at harness racing headquarters on Saturday, February 6, with Cole confident his Art Major gelding can make his presence felt.
The decision to target the 4YO Bonanza comes after Major Jodi ($5.20) collected his ninth win from 32 starts with an accomplished performance in a $20,000 race at Shepparton on Saturday night.
The four-year-old was driven perfectly by his trainer Glenn Douglas and proved far too strong for the short-priced favourite Honolua Bay ($1.50) to record an impressive 4.4m win.
Major Jodi was able to make amends for a disappointing performance on Bendigo Pacing Cup night when he finished eighth of 12 runners on his home track.
That followed a stirring second behind Pacifico Dream in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final for three-year-old colts and geldings on New Year's Eve, when the gelding started at the long odds of $70.20.
Cole continues to be impressed by Major Jodi's development and believes the gekding has earned the right to contest another Group 1 race.
"As long as he keeps going well this week at Ballarat (on Saturday night), there's the $100,000 4YO Bonanza and if we can win that you get into the Chariots of Fire up at Menangle," he said.
"That's where I'd really like him to go, up on the big track, so we don't have that issue like we have at Bendigo every time.
"For some reason it's just that 400m mark at Bendigo that sometimes brings him undone.
"He'll go to Ballarat this week and he has gone well there, as he has at Melton."
Major Jodi's win at Shepparton would have come as no surprise to those who have followed the horse's progress.
The gelding has shown a real affinity for the track with six of his nine career wins achieved at Shepparton.
"It was a nice $20,000 race on Saturday night and he's getting up towards $90,000 now," Cole said.
"We'll just take each week as it comes.
"Some people are telling me that he has been up a while, but while he's racing good and he is looking the best he has, we'll keep pushing on.
"He's probably going as fast as he ever has."
Cole would like nothing better than to tick off a Group 1 win with Major Jodi.
The four-year-old does boast a pair of Group race starts, with his second in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series final coming just a few weeks after his seventh in the Group 3 VHRC Cadaceus 3YO Cup, also at Melton.
Cole is enjoying good success with another of his horses Would You Mind, who is trained by Julie Douglas, and has kicked-off his career with three-straight wins, the most recent of which was at Melton on January 8.
The Auckland Reactor gelding will have his next start at Cobram this Friday.
Major Jodi's victory gave Glenn Douglas his third training win of the new season following his success with Major Watson at Maryborough on January 4 and Our Roys Dream at Mildura on January 12
Success for O'Sullivan at Yarra Valley
Heathcote driver Shannon O'Sullivan notched her third win of the new season by steering the Jayne Davies-trained Sundancer Rainbow to victory at Yarra Valley on Monday.
The four-year-old mare started a $1.90 favourite and came from well back in the field at the 400m mark to swamp her rivals and win by 1.6m ahead of Jannali ($3.90), with Cmonbabylitemyfire.
It was a long-overdue win for the daughter of Western Terror and Dance A Rainbow, who had finished among the placings at six of her past eight starts, and 13 times overall in 32 career starts.
The win continued a bright start to the new season for O'Sullivan.
She previously drove Monash to victory at Echuca on New Year's day and Major Mal at Cranbourne on January 7 to give her a trio of early wins in the 2021 season.
Her latest success boosted the 21-year-old's career tally to 62 wins.
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