Inter Dominion winning horseman Darren Hancock is chasing another feature race victory.
The Sydney based trainer/driver prepares race favourite Monaro Mia ahead of Saturday night’s feature, the Gr.2 $40,770 Egmont Park Stud Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final at Albion Park.
With heats staged over the past two weeks, the pint-sized mare has thrived throughout the series which was clearly evident last week when scoring a comfortable yet decisive victory.
“I can’t fault her ahead of the weekend; she’s thriving up there in the Queensland sun and her efforts during the series to date back that up. She was slow away in the opening round of heats but the style of start is vastly different compared to what we are used to down here, they hold them much longer up there.” Hancock said.
Monaro Mia is listed as a $1.95 chance with UBET.
With the TAB Inter Dominion Grand Finals (Pacers & Trotters) scheduled for Saturday night in Melbourne, Hancock will call on his big race experience when he stands up Monaro Mia behind the tapes in Queensland’s biggest trotting event.
The 2647m feature has brought together a strong field but Hancock is confident he has the horse to beat.
“She’s not a big mare but she’s lovely in the way she moves and is put together, it’s a beautiful long stride and her speed is her best asset. Her sectionals are very impressive and she can sustain it too, she’s not weak by any stretch.
“Last week when successful, we were three-wide solo for a good part of the final lap and she just kept going while her splits were sharp. I was really impressed with the way she hit the line.
“Her form in New Zealand was very strong; a winner of the Great Northern Oaks plus placings in the New Zealand Oaks (Luby Lou) and the Jewels (Winterfell) underlines her class. This series has been a target for some time and everything is in order.”
In the Gr.1 $125,000 Ruby on Jewels day at Cambridge, Monaro Mia beat home the likes of Wobelee and Stress Factor.
The Imperial Count mare has won 8 of her 28 starts to date and victory this weekend will take her earnings past $100,000.
Hancock purchased the mare for owner Glenn Holland from Cambridge trainer Nicky Chilcott.
Since being based in Australia, Monaro Mia has been placed in 4 of her 5 starts (2 wins).
And given her recent success, Holland has purchased another two New Zealand performers.
“He’s a great guy and enjoying the fun we’re having with Mia so he went out and bought a pair of three-year-olds from Mark Purdon in Having The Faith and Slingshot.
“Hopefully, we’ll be back in the winter for a crack at the Queensland Derby with both of them. Glenn is flying back from the England this weekend to watch Mia at Albion Park which is great.”
Back in 2004, Hancock won the Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final with Jofess at Gloucester Park.
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | December 13 | Photo by Dan Costello