BOOM freshman Jilliby Nitro appears to have been handed Sunday’s New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle on a silver platter.
Widely-regarded as the best two-year-old in the nation, Jilliby Nitro has drawn the pole for Victorian trainer Marg Lee.
Already a dual Group One winner – including the rich Australian Pacing Gold Final – Jilliby Nitro is a $1.20 TAB Fixed Odds favourite in his quest for a third top shelf triumph.
An effortless winner of his semi-final a fortnight ago Jilliby Nitro has improved since his 1:52.3 success according to Lee.
“He has stayed in Sydney between runs and has done very well,” Lee said. “His work has been terrific, he is relaxed and been eating up.
“My brother Harry drew the pole for him and is pretty happy with himself.
“It’s an ideal draw which will make him very hard to get passed.”
Also victorious in his semi, Be Happy Mach is rated as the main danger by Lee despite his wide draw.
Prepared by record-breaking horsewoman Emma Stewart, Be Happy Mach will come from barrier seven once the emergencies a removed.
The son of Mach Three boasts five wins from six starts with his defeat coming in the APG Final.
Ironically, Jilliby Nitro’s only loss from seven outings was a second in his APG heat behind Be Happy Mach’s stablemate, Mach Dan, which missed the Final due to injury.
“Be Happy Mach is a very nice type which is in top form,” Lee said. “His draw is tough, but he is the one to beat.”
Lee is also searching for Group One glory with Jilliby Nitro’s regular travel companion Jilliby Bandit.
Also an APG purchase, Jilliby Bandit is engaged in the Len Smith Mile, where he has drawn barrier five.
“It’s a strong race, but he is in terrific condition and will go well,” Lee said.
Lee also has Keayang Jackie in the Final for two-year-old fillies, with the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance drawn to settle prominently from barrier two.
Yet another purchased from the APG Sales, Keayang Jackie is on the third line of betting at $7, with APG champion Pelosi the $1.70 favourite from gate five.
“She is a nice filly which has drawn well, but will need luck,” Lee said. “If she can get the right run she is capable of surprising a few.”
Last but not least on Lee’s interstate assault is Keayang Liberty, which is poised to contest the three-year-old fillies’ decider.
Another which was too slick in her semi, Keayang Liberty is the $2.40 TAB Fixed favourite from gate six.
“I’m very happy with her,” Lee said. “She’s had three starts this time in and keeps improving.
“It’s a very open race but she is a good chance even from a difficult draw.”