20 August 2017 | Michael Howard
Our Little General salutes in the Breeders Crown semi-final.
A Mach Three soldier is again leading the Victorian trots resistance after Our Little General upstaged some of Australasia’s most fearsome three-year-olds to land a timely blow.
The reigning Breeders Crown champ and Victoria Derby winner was back to his best in clipping Mark Purdon’s favourite The More The Better in Saturday night’s IRT Breeders Crown semi-final for three-year-old colts and geldings.
Motu Meteor, Kerryn Manning’s Bettors Delight gelding, will also enter Sunday’s $190,000 Group 1 final a winner having overcome a tricky draw to comfortably account for his semi-final rivals.
The class was then shaken in the barrier draw that followed on a big night at Bendigo, with The More The Better drawing the pole mark to virtually ensure final favouritism, while key rival and former All Stars stablemate Stars Align drew his back (gate eight).
Stars Align has taken all before him in Dean Braun’s camp and boxed on well to qualify in the super-competitive first semi-final, when he was drawn the outside of the back row and had to do a lot of work early before running fourth.
Motu Meteor, also a former Purdon horse, has drawn gate 10, directly behind Our Little General, who will start from three for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Chris Alford.
The latter was chuffed in the wake of Saturday night’s impressive win, when Our Little General handed up to The More The Better from the pole mark and then picked off the favourite in the straight to win by a half-head.
“He was great. His run last week showed he was right back on track to his best,” Alford said.
“He had the draw and the run tonight, he had to peel off a length in a 26.8 last quarter, which is pretty hard to do, and he was super.”
There was little respite throughout the 1:56.1 mile rate and that will likely be the same again on Super Sunday, when Alford will try to cash in on his fortunate gate three draw to give Our Little General the last crack at the front runners.
“He showed tonight if things go his way he can beat the best ones.”