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Big Night Planned At The Park

The 2018 Racing Queensland Summer Carnival reaches its climax tomorrow night (Saturday).

The 10 race program has several features including the Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final and the Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup among others.

Both features are proudly sponsored by Egmont Park Stud.

And several equine stars will flex their muscles including reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One while the best trotters are vying for the prize in the state’s biggest event, the DJA Memorial Final.

The feature trot is named after the highly skilled horseman, formerly from Tasmania but moved to Queensland permanently in the early 1980’s after taking a holiday in Sunshine State which resulted in Alexander being offered the role of private trainer for then Racing Minister Russ Hinze.

After a successful three-and-a-half year stint with the racing magnate Darrell branched out on his own, and twice represented Australia in the World Driving Championships plus winning training and driving premierships including a record of 124 winners in 2002.

When he retired from race driving, he had driven more than 1300 winners while preparing almost 600 winners as a trainer.

Sadly, he passed away in 2005.

Again, his adoring family will be trackside tomorrow night to present the winning trophies to connections.

The Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, now entering its 10th year features some great names on the Roll of Honour including inaugural winner Right Interest plus the likes of King Of Strathfield, My Valerie and Our Overanova (twice) among others.

Grant Dixon, the state’s leading trainer, has won the event four times (Une Da Mai, The Dude Abides & Our Overanova x 2) and is well represented again this year with Astral Ruler, Miracle Rising and Mister Gunsen all qualifying.

The Sydney trained Monaro Mia is listed as the favourite with UBET at $1.95 following her stylish heat victory last week but several local will be well fancied.

Form analyst Darren Clayton is predicting a win for the locals.

“I think local mare Needle is the toughest to beat, starting off a handicap of 10m might appear as a disadvantage, however, it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. In the first round of heats which were at the same distance as this final, she dominated when getting forward early,” Clayton said.

“These DJA finals are generally won by the strongest but also those that have speed and this bonny mare fits that category.” He added.

Earlier this year, the Brad Connelly prepared former New Zealand mare won the state’s other trotting feature, the $20,630 Jim McNeil Memorial at this track and trip.

In the pacing feature, Colt Thirty One only enhanced his reputation with his stunning come from behind victory in last week’s Christmas Cup, his first attempt at open class level.

The Grant Dixon prepared four-year-old faces another stiff challenge this weekend after being slammed with a nasty draw, the outside of the second-line (gate 13).

And Clayton expects another victory for the boom pacer.

“How refreshing was it to see him driven in that manner last week, coming with that brilliant finish in his first go at open class. The drop back in distance should see a sharper tempo but that should work to his favour and I think he will be powering home for yet another victory.

“Grant Dixon very rarely if ever puts his horses out of their depth and the fact that he is taking on the open class as a 4yo speaks volumes for Colt Thirty One.”

UBET has listed Colt Thirty One as the $1.90 punters choice.

The gambling giant also has a number of racing offers available for this feature meeting.

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe will be in attendance along with Channel 9 personality, Norm Hogan, from the hit program – The Block.

The feature local program coincides with the Inter Dominion Grand Finals from TABCORP Park, Melton.

The opening race will take place at 5.48pm local time.