THE region's leading harness racing stable is planning a two-pronged assault on next month's Group 2 Bendigo Pacing Cup (2650m) at Lord's Raceway.
Glenn Douglas confirmed stable star Torrid Saint would be set for a tilt at the $70,000 feature race on Saturday, January 8, and would likely be joined by rising country cups performer Rick Reilly.
The Julie Douglas-trained pair will square off against each other in the $24,000 Sokyola Sprint at Ballarat this Sunday night.
Jack Laugher, who partnered Torrid Saint to a fourth placing in last weekend's Group 2 Cranbourne Cup, will again take the steer on the five-year-old gelding at Ballarat, while Glenn Douglas will drive Rick Reilly, who finished third.
Douglas could not have been much happier with both horses' performances last Saturday night.
"Torrid Saint's run in the Cranbourne Cup was sensational, they don't sit three-wide on that track and finish off that often," he said.
"The leader's back (Supreme Dominator) won the race and Rick Reilly probably earned a shot with his third.
"I probably don't give the horse (Rick Reilly) enough credit, he hit the line very well.
"But we'd have to say Torrid Saint is our number one (hope) and Rick Reilly the support act."
A crack at the Bendigo Pacing Cup will cap an outstanding 12 months for Torrid Saint, who earlier this year won a NR 72 to 79 event at Lord's Raceway on cup night.
It was the first of seven wins for the Shadow Play gelding so far this season, four of them at Melton, added to his exciting victory in the $24,000 Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore in July.
He also finished second in the Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint at Bendigo in October, beaten only a neck by Bulletproof Boy, a week before finishing a creditable sixth in the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup, also at Lord's Raceway.
"He's airborne, Torrid Saint. You've just got to hope for a draw," said Douglas in response to his Bendigo Cup prospects.
"For really his first year in against this class of horses, he's just taken a bit to acclimatise to their pattern of racing, but he's really starting to hit his straps.
"He's doing a great job."
A winner of seven of 13 starts since debuting for the Douglas stable in September, Rick Reilly has continued to surprise Douglas with his progression, highlighted by wins in strong editions of the Elmore and Gunbower cups and an impressive metro win at Melton last month.
"He's a very ordinary track worker, my daughter (Hayley) owns him - I think she robbed him off me," he laughed.
"But he just keeps stepping forward and continues to amaze me every time he goes around."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.