GRAND mare Dance Craze will attempt to join an elite group of trotters at Ballarat on Saturday night.
Triumphant in last season’s E B Cochran Cup at the leading provincial venue, Dance Craze will return to defend her title.
Victory will see the daughter of Muscle Hill become the sixth multiple winner of the feature since its inception in 1963 when captured by immortal squaregaiter Gramel.
A win will also see Dance Craze become just the third champion to successfully defend their title in the Group Two.
The great Scotch Notch was the first dual winner thanks to her efforts in 1983 and ’85 before True Roman began his incredible association with the event in 1986.
True Roman returned to capture the Cup in 1988, ’89 and 90.
Lenin followed suit in 1991 and ’93, Wagon Apollo was too good in 1996 and ’97, while I Can Doosit rounded out the ‘fab five’ in 2011 and ’13.
Scoring with Glenn Craven in the cart, Dance Craze will be driven by his cousin, Jason Lee, this time around.
Despite her second row draw, the Anton Golino and Jack MacKinnon-trained seven-year-old is the $3.10 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds.
“She is going as good as ever the old mare,” Golino said. “She won well in Melton on January 2 and was only beaten a head in the Group One at Bendigo a couple of weeks ago.
“We’ve been very happy with her work and just wish we could say the same about her draw.”
Golino and MacKinnon will also be represented by rising star Always Ready which will begin from the outside of the back row.
Boasting a record of 15 wins and five placings from 23 starts, Always Ready is on the fourth line of betting at $5 in what is considered an even betting race.
Sundons Courage and Red Hot Tooth split the stablemates at $3.50 and $3.80.
“We had a little setback with Always Ready, which is why he was scratched a couple of weeks ago, but he is back to full strength now,” Golino said.
“It’s not going to be easy for either of them from the draw, but they’re going into it in top shape.”