STRATHFIELDSAYE trainer Julie Douglas has warmed up for a big Saturday night ahead by notching a treble at Wednesday's harness racing meeting at Maryborough.
Douglas, who has several strong chances at Friday night's meeting at Mildura, headed by stable star Bernie Winkle and the three-year-old Captain Confetti, will have the in-form Torrid Saint chasing Group 1 glory in the $300,000 Victoria Cup at Lord's Raceway on Saturday night.
The Victoria Cup is one of four Group 1 events on the program to be hosted for the first time by the Bendigo Harness Racing Club, alongside the finals of the Victoria Derby and Victoria Oaks and the Bill Collins Trotters Sprint.
Douglas will head into the night with confidence after Van Niekerk, Radiant Rose and Major Watson all scored wins at Maryborough.
Van Niekerk and Radiant Rose were both driven by stable driver Jack Laugher, who boosted his remarkable win tally for the season to 152, while Major Watson provided Charlton youngster Abby Sanderson with the fourth win of her fledgling career.
Those three wins have contributed to a tally of eight Bendigo region-trained winners for the week so far.
Three of those came on Tuesday night at Shepparton, where Charlton's Michael Gadsden, Heathcote's Terry French and Goornong's Peter Salathiel all took turns in the winner's circle.
Gadsden claimed a maiden win with Notsokool, driven by Denbeigh Wade, French continued his strong season following a win with Hard Rock Shannon, driven by daughter Tayla French, while Salathiel picked up his seventh win of the season and a second this year with Outside Fighter, driven by Katrina Cain.
For Terry French, Hard Rock Shannon's success delivered him his 26th win of the 2021 season.
At Maryborough, Longlea trainer Glenn Sharp and Maryborough trauner-driver Mark Hayes added to the momentum by scoring wins with their respective trotters Ima Ziabee (driven by Josh Duggan) and Igniting Stride.
Those wins, combined with three for the Douglas stable, meant Bendigo region trainers took out five of the eight races on the program.
A treble has allowed Douglas to hold an 18-win lead at the top of the state trainer's premiership over Cardigan's Emma Stewart (122).
Andy Gath is third on 86 wins with Shelbourne's Kate Hargreaves fourth on 79 and former Bendigo trainer Chris Svanosio sixth on 54.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: