The Group 1 $145,000 Maturity Classic kicks off this Saturday night with nine fabulous heats, including the entry of recent Group 1 winner Fast Times, who has drawn box seven in the seventh heat of one of the most popular age-restricted classics in the world.
The race series will coincide with Christmas in July festivities at The Meadows, with all roads leading to a huge night of racing and entertainment on July 29.
The first three placegetters and the five fastest fourths from Saturday night’s bumper meeting will qualify for the semi finals on Saturday week. The top two from those semis will then make their way into a final that has been won by legendary chasers such as Temlee, Brett Lee, Barcia Bale and Fernando Bale, who won the 2015 version in race record time.
Heat highlights include:
Heat one: West Australian chaser Vanderworp (box two) comes to The Meadows with big wraps after a 27.28 win at Mandurah in June, followed up by a top 29.93 trial at the Broadmeadows circuit. He faces off against classy youngsters Envy Heist (box one), Lady Avenger (box three) and Petadale (box four).
Heat two: Trixta Rox (box five) owns an outstanding 29.83 over the 525-metre trip and looks a huge chance despite her box draw. Are You (box three) is a recent 29.87 winner on the track and classy NSW chaser Shallay Pallay (box two) will be looking to atone after running at the tail of the field last Saturday night.
Heat three: A great three-way clash in this heat. Sure To Excite (box one) has won eight of his 11 starts, including the Northern Districts Cup at Shepparton in fast time. He takes on the unbeaten Allen Ablett (box four) who looks a real star of the future, and classy SA raider Brick Lane (box eight) is a last start 29.66 Angle Park victory.
Heat four: Aston Dee Bee (box two) is racing in superb form and he was an eye-catching third in last week’s Bendigo Cup. He is drawn to progress to the next stage. He faces off against Mepunga Blazer (box five), who has brilliant PBs at both metropolitan tracks, and Aston Dinnigan (box eight), who won impressively at The Meadows on June 24.
Heat five: A mouthwatering clash between Dirk Bale (box two), who won his Maiden at The Meadows in 29.89 and Jimmy Newob (box eight, pictured), a chaser who recorded Best of Night figures at The Meadows last week. His record speaks for itself – 10 wins and six seconds from 18 starts.
Heat six: Mepunga Tycoon (box one) is drawn perfectly and should be hard to hold out of the coveted red draw. Rockoon (box five) has done his best racing at The Meadows in a short but impressive career, and Aston Frankel (box eight) has very strong provincial form.
Heat seven: Recent Group 1 winner Fast Times (box seven) is at the top of his game and despite being on debut at The Meadows, is clearly the one to beat. Shadale (box six) is a recent 29.55 winner at Sandown and looks one of the main dangers.
Heat eight: Group finalist Oronsay (box five) has the speed to lead this race and this looks one of the more even heats of the night.
Heat nine: Lagoon Rhett (box six) is the fastest maiden winner ever at Bulli and comes to The Meadows with obvious wraps. Set to Storm (box eight) is a recent Group 1 Peter Mosman finalist and Van Ann (box three) has won seven of her 12 race starts.