MAIDEN Gully trainer Maree Campbell is hoping an ultra-competitive effort from her trotting mare Lucinda Mac at Melton on Saturday night can top off a good week for her boutique stable.
The consistent seven-year-old will face one of the toughest assignments of her career in a star-studded Group 2 La Coocaracha Trotters Free For All (2240m).
Lucinda Mac is the outsider of the field at $51, with little separating the three favourites Im Ready Jet ($1.70), Vacation Hill ($2.50) and Aldebaran Crescent ($4).
Last season's Group 3 Maori Miss Trotters Free For All winner Hopeful Beauty is an early $26 chance.
While the odds are stacked against Lucinda Mac, Campbell wants to see her mare run her usual honest race.
"It's a five horse field and they have picked her to come fifth," she said.
"But she's one of those horses, she has plenty of ability, but it's a smokin' hot field.
"We are happy with how she is working and everything, but she's up against some really good ones.
"We'd love for her to go around, behave herself and keep them honest and if she can pass a horse or two, we'd be rapt."
Lucinda Mac, a winner of six of 55 starts and placed 18 times, finished fourth at her last run in the Group 1 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series Final at Melton on February 26, with two of Saturday night's field Aldebaran Crescent and Vacation Hill finishing one-two in that race.
Trained by Andy Gath, Vacation Hill went on to win the free for all at Melton last week in good style, while Im Ready Jet is coming off a second behind Majestuoso in the Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix.
Campbell continued a good run of form with her small team with a thrilling victory at Bendigo's Lord's Raceway on Wednesday night with the three-year-old trotting gelding Ee Be Mac.
The son of Tennotrump, driven by Kerryn Manning, who will also drive Lucinda Mac on Saturday, booked his place in the Group 1 final of the Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic with a tough and convincing heat win over 1650m.
It was just the return Campbell was looking for from Ee Be Mac, who showed plenty of promise when finishing second on debut at Kilmore last November, before succumbing to a virus late last year.
"We thought he could win. With an extra bit of luck at his first start he would have won that, so that gives you a good feeling," she said.
"You don't often go to the races the first time with a horse and expect to win.
"We couldn't have been happier with him."
Ee Be Mac, who was bred by Maree and Paul Campbell, was fortunate to have made the racetrack at all after falling ill as a foal.
"As a foal, he would eat sand and he got really crook and the vet was actually going to put him down at one stage," she said.
"And then after his first start he got really crook again - every horse on the property got sick to some degree with snotty noses, temperatures and got depressed.
"Fingers crossed he is completely over that."
The Home Grown Classic final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings will be run at Melton on March 19.
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