THE Bendigo region's two most in-form stables warmed up for a big Vicbred Super Series (VSS) finals night at Melton tonight (Friday) by scoring consolation wins at Lord's Raceway on Thursday night.
Strathfieldsaye trainer Julie Douglas continued her outstanding 2021 season by winning the silver edition of the VSS two-year-old colts and geldings pace with Interest Free, while Bendigo trainer-driver Alex Ashwood experienced success in the three-year-old fillies silver pace with Tay Tay.
Both trainers have three runners engaged on a huge program of Group 1 racing on Friday night at harness racing headquarters.
Ashwood has Parisian Artiste, La Serena and Roquefort Cheese contesting finals, while Douglas is looking to put the seal on a remarkable year with her three hopes, Ozzie Battler, Ozzie Joy and Rocco Americano.
Interest Free showed he would not have been out of place in the Group 1 final with a convincing victory over the 2150m trip.
It was the seventh win of the season from 16 starts for the son of Art Major and the mare Picobello, who was driven by Glenn Douglas.
Included among those wins were victories in a semi-final of the rich Breeders Crown series and the $24,000 Youthful Stakes at Melton on December 4.
A wonderful first season of racing for Interest Free included four straight wins from June through to August and a fifth placing in the $300,000 Group 1 Breeders Crown Final won by Catch A Wave.
Similarly unlucky not to have been in action on VSS finals night, Tay Tay could not have been more impressive in winning the three-year-old fillies silver pace.
It was the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and Jets Girl's sixth win of the season from 16 starts and followed an impressive fourth in last month's $200,000 Group 1 Breeders Crown Final won by the superstar Ladies In Red.
Tay Tay ended the year with three wins from her last four starts, her only blemish a ninth in her VSS semi-final before Christmas.
A good night for the locals on Thursday included driving wins for Rod Lakey in the VSS silver pace for two-year-old fillies aboard Beach Memories and Jack Laugher on Ozzie Sunshine in the bronze pace for four-year-old mares.
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