INTERSTATE raiders are set to dominate Saturday night’s New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
Six qualifiers across three divisions are on the program with visitors providing the runners to beat in five of the races.
The odd semi out is the second of the two-year-old fillies’ events.
Although the 1609-metre sprint does include border hoppers, local youngster Michelle Lee Mac is the one to beat.
Winner of her heat in Newscastle three weeks ago, Michelle Lee Mac has drawn to lead throughout from the pole for trainer Kerry McDowell.
The opening fillies’ semi is expected to be an easy affair for brilliant Queenslander, Pelosi, despite her wide draw.
An effortless winner of last month’s Australian Pacing Gold Final at Albion Park, Pelosi will come from gate nine for trainer Anna Woodmansey.
Woodmansey will make the gruelling 12-hour drive with partner and owner Wayne Honan.
Honan also bred the daughter of American Ideal which boasts five wins from six starts.
“She went well and was very bright after her heat,” Woodmansey said. “She did it quite easily which was great to see.
“It’s was a nine-hour drive to Newcastle but she traveled well which I’m happy about. She was eating well and was relaxed, which is a big advantage.
“It is about a 12-hour drive to Menangle, but I can’t see any reason why she won’t handle it.”
Pelosi is a $1.75 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds, with Didnt I the only rival under double figures at $3.10 from barrier eight.
Also successful in an Australian Pacing Gold Final last month, boom freshman Jilliby Nitro is $1.06 in his semi after drawing gate two for Victorian horsewoman Marg Lee.
At $12 Saint Emilion is considered the biggest threat from barrier six.
Jilliby Nitro’s five wins from six starts include his heat around Menangle last week when he covered the mile in 1:55.4 to score by 13 metres.
Fellow Victorian two-year-old Be Happy Mach is the odds-on favourite in his semi.
Another with an impeccable record – four wins and a placing from five starts – Be Happy Mach is at $1.85 with TAB Fixed Odds.
Prepared by record-breaking trainer Emma Stewart, the son of Mach Three has drawn wide in gate eight.
Local gelding Major Bob is rated the main danger from barrier three.
A member of the Lauren and Shane Tritton stable, Major Bob, which has a tally of four wins from five starts, is listed at $3.10.
“I was happy with every aspect of his heat win,” Stewart said. “He did all the work in the run and still proved too strong.
“He also handled the travelling and has worked on well since. The draw certainly hasn’t helped, but he’ll be hard to beat.”
Victorian mares Goodtime Heaven and Rocknroll Pearl are also odds-on in the four-year-old semis.
Runner-up at her second start from a spell last week – having won first-up – Goodtime Heaven is at $1.90 from barrier 11.
Winner of last Saturday night’s Go Girlfriend Final in Menangle, Rocknroll Pearl is the $1.75 hot shot from gate six.