SHELBOURNE trainer Kate Hargreaves is confident Ludacrous will be at her peak for Saturday night's $150,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Fillies Final at Melton.
The ever-consistent daughter of Art Major stamped herself as one of the most likely to challenge the dominance of the powerful Emma Stewart team in the weekend's final following a brilliant semi-final outing at Melton on Saturday night.
In an excellent warm-up for the Group 1 final, Ludacrous, driven by Lisa Miles, finished a head away from Joyful in second place after attempting to lead all the way over the 2240m trip.
The Stewart stable produced the winner of both heats on Saturday, after Major Delight romped home later in the night following a tough run in transit.
Wins by Joyful and Major Delight contributed to a dominant night for the Cardigan-based trainer, who claimed seven of the eight Breeders Crown semi-finals, and also took out the Breeders Crown Championship for four-year-old mares with Fiamma.
While her three-year-old pair will be just as tough to overcome this Saturday night, Hargreaves remains unfazed by the mammoth task ahead.
The 32-year-old is confident she has Ludacrous entering the final in peak form.
"I was rapt on Saturday night. Our plan was always to go forward and when she found the lead I was pretty happy," Hargreaves said.
"She finished off really well as she had to do a bit of work and the lead time was quicker than average.
"She went 1:55 over the middle distance, so it is not like she had an easy time in front, but she fought on so well.
"She actually kicked back with about 50 to go and then Joyful kicked back, so there wasn't much in it. It could have been a win.
"She's come through the run really well, so I think she will be even better for the final."
Hargreaves will be chasing her first Breeders Crown success on Saturday night.
She previously savoured Group 1 victory in 2020 with Dont Care in the Vicbred Super Series Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings Final.
Hargreaves admitted to heading to Melton on Saturday night with a good degree of confidence.
"Her run in the heat, where she sat parked outside (the Stewart-trained) Elysian Jay and only got beaten six metres in 1:55, was out of this world and she's worked on well ever since," she said.
"I was actually quite confident on Saturday, depending on what happened at the start, but I knew she would run a big race.
"She's pretty much been part of all the big races since she was two and has always been competitive or thereabouts, but she does seem to be getting better and better.
"I think she has a big one in her."
Ludacrous, a winner of three of 21 career starts and placed 14 times for nearly $95,000 in earnings, will be contesting her second Breeders Crown final.
She was not at her best in last year's two-year-old fillies finals and was found to be suffering from a viral infection.
Hargreaves will also be represented in the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings final on Saturday night by Alpha Tori.
The son of Father Patrick debuted with a fourth placing after being thrown in at the deep end in last week's heats at Maryborough.
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