THE Bendigo region will be well represented on one of Victorian harness racing's biggest nights of the year on New Year's Eve.
More than a dozen horses trained in the region have qualified for prestigious Group 1 Vicbred Super Series finals.
A star-studded 12-race program will bring down the curtain on a fascinating 2021 racing season.
Strathfieldsaye's Julie Douglas, who will end the 2021 season placed second on the state trainer's premiership, and Bendigo's Alex Ashwood will be best represented with three starters apiece, while Muckleford's Chris Angove will have two.
Douglas has Ozzie Battler and Rocco Americano qualified in the four-year-old entires and geldings final, while Ozzie Joy will line up in the two-year-old fillies.
Arguably the region's best chance of Vicbred glory along with the Anthony Crossland-trained and driven Rules Dont Apply, the Ashwood-trained Parisian Artiste will be chasing a fourth-straight race win in the final of the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.
To be driven by Tayla French, Parisian Artiste could not have been more impressive in winning his heat last Monday at Maryborough and will be keen to go a few spots better than his exciting third placing in last month's Group 1 Breeders Crown Final behind Aldebaran Zeus.
The two leading hopes have drawn barriers one (Aldebaran Zeus) and two (Parisian Artiste).
Ashwood also has Roquefort Cheese and La Serena qualifield, with La Serena joined in the four-year-old trotting mares final by the Brad Stevens-trained Everybodylovesme and Maree Campbell-trained Mazikeen.
Angove's two Vicbred hopes - Ebonys Avenger and Stingofawasp - will both line up in the two-year-old trotting fillies.
As he often does on harness racing's biggest nights, Greg Norman will fly the flag for Charlton with Belladonna Girl in the four-year-old pacing mares showcase.
Riding a wave of confidence following a superb heat win at Melton last Tuesday, Eppalock's Crossland is eyeing victory in the four-year-old trotting entires and geldings with Rules Dont Apply.
It will be a busy night for a handful of the region's top drivers.
Jack Laugher has a strong hand, partnering the impressive Anton Golino-trained heat winner Im Ready Jet in the four-year-old trotting mares and Rohaan for the same trainer in the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.
He will also drive Ozzie Battler for the Douglas stable, Relentless Me (two-year-old fillies) for Brittany O'Brien and Captain Bellasario (three-year-old colts and geldings) for Jayne Davies.
Ellen Tormey has two chances on the night aboard Ozzie Joy (Julie Douglas) and Pas Guarantee for Rochester trainer Mark Thompson.
Champion driver Brian Gath, who piloted Illawong Stardust into fifth place in this month's Inter Dominion final at Menangle and third behind Im Ready Jet in last Tuesday night's heat, will again be aboard the Tony Peacock-trained four-year-old trotting mare.
Chris Angove: Ebonys Avenger, Stingofawasp (two-year-old trotting fillies).
Alex Ashwood: Roquefort Cheese (four-year-old mares); La Serena (four-year-old trotting mares); Parisian Artiste (three-year-old trotting colts and geldings).
Maree Campbell: Mazikeen (four-year-old trotting mares).
Ray Cross: Whos Countn (four-year-old trotting entires and geldings).
Anthony Crossland: Rules Dont Apply (four-year-old trotting entires and geldings).
Julie Douglas: Ozzie Joy (two-year-old fillies); Ozzie Battler, Rocco Americano (four-year-old entires and geldings).
Greg Norman: Belladonna Girl (four-year-old mares).
Brad Stevens: Everybodylovesme (four-year-old trotting mares).
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