BENDIGO reinsman Jack Laugher continued his dazzling form with another double at Lord's Raceway on Friday night.
The 23-year-old, who earlier this month brought up his maiden Group 1 win at Tabcorp Park Melton, consolidated his spot in third on the state driver's premiership with a pair of wins for the Julie Douglas stable.
Victories aboard Magic Mike and Digyourheelsin helped stretch the Strathfieldsaye stable's lead at the top of the trainer's premiership on 74 wins to 13 ahead of Emma Stewart, going into Saturday night's meeting at Melton.
An efficient performance from Laugher - two wins from four drives on Friday - included a tough win aboard Digyourheelsin.
The four-year-old mare lived up to her name by digging in for a fight when challenged on several occasions after holding a slender lead at the bell.
Digyourheelsin was forced to work a lot harder for the lead down the back the first time than Laugher had anticipated.
"You have to expect to do some work at some stage; I mean she's had it pretty easy sort of in her last few starts," he said post-race on TrotsVision.
"So she proved tonight she can do a little bit more work than she has been.
"Going up in grade, she's going to be better suited with a sit anyway, so at least she's got that other attribute to her.
"She's not just a one-trick pony, even though that's how we've been driving her.
"It's hard to say (how far up in grade she can go), she sort of feels like she waits for them a little bit. She hasn't won by any great big margins yet, but when we drive her with a sit, she will be better,"
The daughter of Lincoln Royal and the mare Jilliby Deejay won for the seventh time in her career from 45 starts and has been placed 13 times.
Her record for the Douglas stable is a tidy four wins and a second from five starts after being sent there by her owner and former trainer Colin Godden.
While the decision would be made elsewhere, Laugher felt the immediate future for Magic Mike, who won for the second time in three starts following his victory at Geelong on May 11, likely involved a trip to Melton.
"He seems to thrive off the harder racing - the tougher you drive him, the better he seems to go," he said.
"He's probably going to have to (go to Melton). Before he had a short let up, he was around that grade and he's come back and sort of floated about.
"But he's back into form now and he will probably have to go there and line up with all the others (from the Douglas stable).
"He's definitely up to that grade of horse. If he could win a race at Melton on a Saturday night it would be really good."
Magic Mike, who like so many of the Douglas horses started his career in New Zealand, has now won eight races and been placed 27 times in 57 starts.
All but one of his wins have come since his move to Strathfieldsaye.
A double gave Laugher 69 wins for the season ahead of nine drives at Melton on Saturday night.
Also on Friday night, Di Li notched up her 12th career win for popular Carisbrook trainer Brett Shipway.
The seven-year-old trotting mare zipped home on the inside to deny John and Ellen Tormey a win with Supplanter in the NR up to 45 trot, with the early pacemaker Jennysfavourite (trained by Kent Harpley) finishing fourth.
A good bread and butter horse for Shipway, Di Li has won $106,265 in prize money in her 134 starts.
The driving honours in her wins have now been split at six apiece between Shipway, who was in the sulky on Friday night, and Michael Bellman.
Three of the daughter of Louey Louey's 12 wins have been at Lord's Raceway.
Former Bendigo trainer Chris Svanosio scored a training and driving double with Acree Phoenix and Queen Of Quebec, who broke through after three straight placings, including a luckless third at Cranbourne on May 17, when she was poised to record an easy victory but broke stride in the straight.
Both horses are part-owned by Bendigo interests.
READ MORE: Di Li Delight for Shipway
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