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    Defending champs ready for title bout Defending champs ready for title bout

    SAPHIRIQUE winning last season's Southern Cross Final at Globe Derby - Photo HRSA

    REIGNING champions Thats Perfect and Saphirique have provided those interested in their thrones a hint of what to expect in next weekend’s Southern Cross... Defending champs ready for title bout

    REIGNING champions Thats Perfect and Saphirique have provided those interested in their thrones a hint of what to expect in next weekend’s Southern Cross Finals.

    Successful in last season’s two-year-old divisions, Thats Perfect and Saphirique returned to Globe Derby last night to capture their heats in soft fashion.

    As such, the duo are short-priced favourites to retain their titles in the Group Two deciders.

    Prepared by premier Victorian trainer Emma Stewart, Thats Perfect was never fully extended to account for Dont Tell William and Clarenden Valour after finding the lead from barrier four.

    Aiming to become the third dual Southern Cross winner in his family, Thats Perfect rated 1:59.1 over 2230 metres, with his time two-tenths of a second slower than local hope, Bulletproof Boy, in the third heat.

    Bayview Harbour captured the first qualifier in 1:59.8.

    Thats Perfect’s close relatives Beauty Secret and Rocknroll Magic are dual winners of the futurity.

    Beauty Secret was triumphant in 2011 before returning in 2012, while Rocknroll Magic was victorious in 2015 and ’16.

    “It’s a marvellous family with seven of them winning this series,” Stewart said.

    “Best Of Beauty and Shes Fine, which finished second in their heats, will also contest the Finals, so with a bit of luck there will be a couple more members of the family on the honour roll.

    “Thats Perfect did it as he pleased in his heat and will be better again next week.”

    Driven by record-breaking reinswoman Dani Hill, Saphirique led throughout from the pole in what was little more than a procession.

    Scoring from Shes Fine and Eastbro Katie, the Brett Bunfield-trained filly rated 2:01.1 – a second quicker than Hilltopsomewhere in the following heat.

    Boasting four wins from her last five starts, Hilltopsomewhere enjoyed the run of the race behind the leader before cruising to a seven-metre win from Waitpinga Poppy, with Crocodile Princess a metre away third.

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    Paul Courts

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