A NEAR-record return to the track has Kialla trainer Mick Carter aiming high with classy Group 2 Bendigo Cup (425m) contender Music Event.
At his first start since August 15, Music Event, who was runner-up in the Group 1 Brisbane Cup in July to fellow Victorian Equalizer, scorched around Bendigo in a blistering 23.357sec, only .005sec outside former superstar Shima Shine's track record established in last year's Cup heats.
The son of Lochinvar Marlow and Jazzy Lou defeated 2020 Bendigo Cup champion Yozo Bale by 6.5 lengths in claiming his 16th win from 45 starts.
It was a welcome return to form after unplaced efforts at Dubbo and Temora at his last two starts in July and August, when not in Carter's care.
Normally a man of very few words, Carter was understandably delighted with Music Event's sensational comeback and he's now aiming to push the son of Lochinvar Marlow and Jazzy Lou's case for a coveted invitation to the Group 1 Topgun, starting with Saturday night's Bendigo Cup heats.
"He was only a head off the record but that's the sort of dog he is," Carter said.
"The dogs running those times are Melbourne Cup dogs.
"He's got that sort of ability and I'd love to see this dog in the Topgun.
"I'm not scared of any dog and I think he's good enough to win it.
"He did break five seconds (4.97sec) at The Meadows earlier in his career, but apparently he only jumps at Bendigo and Shepparton, according to some experts.
"He's much more mature now too."
In addition to running second in the Brisbane Cup, Music Event won the Group 3 Cup Night Sprint at Sandown Park on Melbourne Cup night last November, won the Listed Western Districts Derby final, which was held at Geelong, and was a Group 2 Shepparton Cup finalist.
"Have a look back at the field he beat in the Ballarat Derby, which was moved to Geelong and he'd never been there before," Carter said.
"That field was ridiculous. He beat Aston Rupee, Ferdinand Boy, Aussie Secret, Mr America, Silver Lake and Masked Avenger."
Coming off his scintillating first-up blitz at Bendigo, where he's won three from five and hasn't missed a place, Music Event is one of the headline acts in Saturday's Cup heats, where he's drawn box 4 in heat 3 (race 5 at 7.57pm).
Music Event's opposition includes a last-start record breaker in Paua Of Buddy, trained by Steve White, which claimed his sixth win from nine starts with a breathtaking 21.999 sec performance over 400m at Warragul.
Music Event is the $4.20 second elect in TAB's market, with Aston Profit (box 7) favourite at $3.40, while Paua Of Buddy is $7.50.
"I knew I had Music Event back but he went a little bit quicker than I thought he would last weekend," Carter said.
"I couldn't believe they bet me $4.40 either.
"He was always heading to the Bendigo Cup. He's not cherry ripe yet - he's still on the way up.
"Hopefully that run will improve him but in saying that, it's hard to go much quicker than he did.
"He's as quick as any of them. But there's a lot of pace there and in all the heats it's going to depend on who hits the lids the best.
"If he hits the lids and runs what he did last week, he's going to be hard to beat."
He was always heading to the Bendigo Cup. He's not cherry ripe yet - he's still on the way up.Mick Carter
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