MAIDEN Gully trainer Maree Campbell is embracing another tough test for her staunch mare Lucinda Mac at Bendigo's Lord's Raceway on Thursday night.
The seven-year-old will take her place in the small seven-horse field contesting heat one of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series (1650m).
She will be backing up from a terrific second behind the Alex Ashwood-trained La Serena in last Friday night's $30,000 Group 2 Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship at Melton.
A quality field is headed by the former New Zealander Vacation Hill, for Andy and Kate Gath,, who last Friday night contested a heat of the Great Southern Star, six days after an impressive triumph at Melton.
Her top rivals include Hopeful Beauty, a Group 3 winner in the Maori Miss Trotters Free For All at Melton in December and the emerging Emmett and Richard Brosman-trained Baltica, a winner of seven of 14 career starts.
Former Bendigo trainer-driver Chris Svanosio will pin his hopes on Norquay, who won this race two years ago, before going on to finish second in the Group 1 final behind I Am Pegasus.
A winner of 10 of 57 lifetime starts, Norquay has a win as recently as two starts ago to his credit on Ballarat Pacing Cup night (January 22).
Heat two of the Breed for Speed Gold feature will follow at Shepparton next Wednesday ahead of the $50,000 Group 1 final at Melton on February 26.
The series is named in remembrance of Lyn McPherson, the late wife of popular trotting identity and Aldebaran Park principal Duncan McPherson OAM, who founded the Team Teal campaign as a tribute to her.
Each February and for the first two weeks of March, female drivers across Australia and New Zealand don the teal pants, with each female-driven winner attracting a donation from the sport's respective governing bodies and betting partners towards the campaign.
Fourteen female drivers will be attempting to land a winner on the nine-race card on Thursday night.
They are Tayla French and Ellen Tormey, who have six and two wins respectively so far, Katrina Cain, Shannon O'Sullivan, Taylor Youl, Abbey Turnbull, Monique Burnett, Donna Castles, Rita Burnett, Jackie Barker, Anne-Maree Conroy, Juanita Breen, Rebecca Bartley and Kate Gath.
While Lucinda Mac won't be driven by a female, with Greg Sugars again taking the reins after steering her into second place at Melton last Friday, trainer Campbell would like nothing better than to add her name to the winner's list on the Bendigo Harness Racing Club's major Team Teal fundraising night.
She has previously trained a teal winner and also driven one.
"I'm really hoping it's a good night for the club and Team Teal - it should be, especially if this weather keeps up," she said.
"It's a great time to be involved in racing."
In an encouraging sign, Campbell, who notched up a metro win on Saturday night at Melton with Belittled, said Lucinda Mac had pulled up well from last weekend's run, while the home track shaped as a bonus.
Read more: Belittled scores city breakthrough
"If it wasn't at Bendigo I wouldn't have worried about it," she said.
"There is another heat at Shepparton on the 17th and I thought it would probably be best to back up at Bendigo. There is no travelling and if she doesn't qualify for some reason, we've got a second chance.
"But she is tough enough to go around on a six-day backup."
Campbell said it would be another hard assignment for the daughter of Danny Bouchea and the mare Lucky Kentucky, but the beauty of her mare was she never far from contention in her races.
"It's a short race again (1650m), that really doesn't suit her because she's such a funny little horse at the start - you can't ask her, you've kind of got to let her make up her mind as to what she s going to do," she said.
"She could be sitting at the back of the field and there are quite a few good horses to get around.
"She's not out of it - she's never out of it as she is a decent mare.
"I just take it as it comes with her."
Entry is by gold coin donation.
The first race on Thursday night is at 6.32pm.
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