Ross Graham has fond memories of the first Group 1 race run at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.
The main event on the July 5 Grand Opening meeting last year was the Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotters Final and it went the way of the Graham-trained Rostevarren.
The Schweppes-sponsored $50,000 feature is the most prestigious event on Friday night’s card, when Tabcorp Park will celebrate one year as a TAB racing venue, and Sedgwick-based Graham will be represented by Djasker.
Although still a maiden after seven starts, she has placed six times, and while Graham said the daughter of Wind Cries Maori can’t be compared with Rostevarren, he is happy to have another runner in the race.
“She’s not quite in Rostevarren’s league but she’s honest enough,” he said. “She’s always shown a little bit, but the last couple of months she’s started to do everything right. Up until that her manners were holding her back a bit.
“She is honest, but the barrier draw (11) is going to make it very difficult for her this weekend.”
Compounding the tough back-row alley for Djasker, runner-up to Chateau De Ville in her Vicbred heat after running third to the same horse in the Tatlow final, is that raging favourite Kaptin Bly has drawn pole position in one.
Graham reluctantly conceded that Djasker’s only hope of providing him with back-to-back Vicbred crowns might be for the favourite to put on a show like he did in the Tatlow final, when he galloped out of contention.
“You don’t wish that upon anyone in big races, but they are two-year-old trotters and if you can trot all the way you’ve got a chance,” he said.
“If you can do everything right in those sort of races you’re a chance of earning some sort of money.”
Harness Racing Victoria price assessor Bill Hutchison marked Djasker a $15 chance in the 10.14pm event. Kaptin Bly heads the market at $1.50 with Chateau De Ville ($4.50) the only other runner under $13.
Graham is similarly circumspect about the chances of his other runner at Tabcorp Park tomorrow night, comeback trotter Viva La Fever.
The nine-year-old posted his first win in 23 months when he won the Sundons Gift Trotters Free-For-All last start, but Graham said he faces a much tougher task off 20 metres in the Aldebaran Park Melton Trotters Cup (2760m).
“It would be good if he could win again, but he’s never won further back than 10 (metres) and he’s only won off 10 a few times in his career so it’s going to be hard for him,” he said.