Young gun Ryan Sanderson has opted to take the reins behind unlucky Ballarat Cup runner Platinum Stride in Sunday’s Loddon Shire Wedderburn Pacing Cup at Maryborough.
Sanderson has elected to drive Platinum Stride over stablemate Vanquish Stride, who is also trained by his father Shane and raced by leviathan owner Emilio Rosati.
Shane Sanderson believes Ryan could be on the money after watching Platinum Stride hit the line full of running at Ballarat last Saturday night.
"Platinum Stride was carted back in the field by Petes Said So down the back straight in the Ballarat Cup and his last 50m was better than anything else in the race," Sanderson said.
"And prior to that he had no luck at Shepparton after doing a power of work in the Cobram Cup. He has his foot on the till."
With both Platinum Stride and Vanquish Stride starting from the two outside barriers off the second row, the latter will need the race run to suit according to Sanderson.
"Like Platinum Stride, it is a drop in class for Vanquish Stride who is the quickest horse in the stable point-to-point," he said.
"He is a sit-sprinter though and is essentially a one-run horse who needs to be driven that way. But he is up to that class and he should be in the finish if he gets the right run."
Meanwhile, the Julie Douglas-trained Earl Of Pembroke, who is in search of his first cup success, looks the likely leader and the horse to run down over the 2690m staying trip.
The four-year-old was unbeaten in two starts since joining the Douglas camp prior to finishing runner-up behind the in-form Invitation Only in the Cobram Cup last outing.
Majestical Belle, winner of the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series (3YO Trotting Fillies) Final, has to come off a 30m back mark in the Priority 1 Property Wedderburn Trotters Cup, however driver Michael Bellman believes the mare will strip fitter following her second placing at Melton last week.
"She had a good blow after the race at Melton. That run will have done her the world of good and she did come off a 40m handicap," Bellman said.
"Her trainer Fred Spiteri hurt himself and wasn't able to put the work into her, and in the Wedderburn Cup she starts 10m closer. So, if she begins well and we can tack on without too much effort, she will be right in it."
The in-form Mercenary, who was runner-up behind the talented Keayang Chucky in the Hamilton Trotters Cup last start, is off a 10m handicap and looks the hardest to beat along with the Maree Caldow-trained front-marker Sangreal.