Group 1 opportunities don’t come around every day, especially for part-time trainer Dylan Marshall.
But the Junortoun-based horseman will have two chances at securing a spot in lucrative Australian Pacing Gold Vic Gold Bullion finals on Thursday night when he sends a couple of talented youngsters around in heats at Ballarat’s Bray Raceway.
Marshall has a runner in each of the two-year-old colts and geldings qualifiers, and has a good chance of progressing to the $125,000 final on May 29 given the first five horses across the line are assured of a spot.
Racing Time will be the first Marshall runner to step out, with the son of Racing Hill a half-brother to Group 1-winning Queenslander First String.
“He’s had three trials and his last one was pretty good. I was pretty happy with him,” Marshall, a former Tasmanian, told thetrots.com.au.
“He’s green and a tallish sort of animal who can run a bit.”
Classically Smooth is engaged in the other heat, and unlike his stablemate, has raceday experience. And it’s winning experience, too. The son of Betterthancheddar showed a dazzling turn of foot to score at Yarra Valley from three back the pegs on May 10 in what was his first trip to the races.
“He’s got a very sharp sort of 400m on him. It makes a lot of difference when they’ve got a nice bit of speed like that. They don’t have to be really anywhere particularly in a race and can make a bit of their own luck,” Marshall said.
“(Racing Time) and Classically Smooth work together so there’s not too much between them.”
Success is not necessarily based upon victory on Thursday night, says Marshall, who has trained 31 winners from 442 starters in a career that began back in season 2006-07.
“Obviously, we are out there to win, but sort of the game plan is to make the final and go from there,” he said.
“I don’t see any reason why they can’t (make the final).
“It would be fantastic. That’s why we do it – to try and get these runners in these big races.”
While Marshall will tackle heats for the colts and geldings, there’s also some intriguing qualifiers on the cards for the two-year-old fillies. Perhaps the best of those comes up in race four when five last-start winners clash, including the impressive Emma Stewart-trained trio Fiamma, Petillante and Irish Black Label.
Like the colts and geldings, the first five horses across the line in each heat automatically book their place in the $125,000 state final at Tabcorp Park Melton on May 29.
Marshall’s third runner at the Ballarat meeting is Reddy Major, who will go around second-up in the Haymarket Pace.