WINNER of his last two starts at Tabcorp Park Melton, Tough Monarch is back in search of a hat-trick on Saturday night.
Boasting a winning streak of four – having won his two prior outings in Menangle – the New South Wales trotter is engaged in the Bill Collins Sprint.
Having travelled south of the Murray today, Tough Monarch is “raring to go” according to trainer Rickie Alchin despite being scratched from Menangle last week.
“I had a bug go through stable and a couple I thought would go alright went average so I scratched him as a precaution,” Alchin said.
“I trialled him with a pacemaker on Saturday and he had a good solid hit out. He has been working well, while his blood and everything has been fine, so he has managed to avoid it.
“We travelled down today which he handled it really well and is raring to go.”
To be driven by local reinsman Chris Svanosio, Tough Monarch has drawn to settle forward from barrier three.
As a result of the draw and the scratching of his main danger, the son of Monarchy is a $2.25 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds.
Winner of last season’s edition of the Group One, Tornado Valley has been withdrawn by trainer Andy Gath.
“I know he goes into it as the favourite, but this is as good a trot field as you will get in Australia at the moment,” Alchin said.
“There are plenty of dangers and it will be all guns blazing.
“Red Hot Tooth holds key with a good draw and gate speed and will take some catching from the pole.
“Big Jack Hammer has also drawn inside us and you can’t write him off at any point.
“The winner will certainly deserve it.”