PROMISING pacers Kimble and October Reign will be given their first test against open class opposition during the weekend.
Just a fortnight after becoming four-year-olds, the stablemates are engaged in Sunday’s Hamilton Cup for trainer Matthew Craven.
While the Group Three represents a switch to free-for-all company, Craven believes the provincial feature “won’t be much harder” than previous assignments such as the Vicbred Super Series, Carousel and Derbys.
“They will be up against more seasoned, older horses, but I don’t think the talent is much greater than some of the races they have already been in,” Craven said.
“They’ve raced in Sires’ Finals and Derbys for example and none of the pacers in those races would be out of place in Sunday’s Cup.
“It will be an interesting test for them, but I expect them to go well.”
To be driven by champion horsewoman Kerryn Manning, Kimble has fared slightly better in the draw, with the son of Western Terror to come from barrier two.
Boasting three wins and a second from his last five starts, Kimble is expected to be too elusive for his rivals, with TAB Fixed Odds listing the gelding as a $3.50 favourite.
A last start winner in Bendigo, October Reign is the equal $4 second elect from gate three.
Batman Barry is also at $4 from the pole.
“They have both drawn well and I expect them to be hard to beat,” Craven said.