By Duane Ranger
Queensland’s best pacer and the state’s current Horse-of-the-Year, Colt Thirty One, will leave Brisbane early next week in his bid to win the 2019 Chariots Of Fire Pace at Sydney’s Tabcorp Park Menangle.
The Group One event, which will be run on February 16, is worth $200,000 and is one race that has eluded his trainer and driver, Grant Dixon.
It will be a curtain-raiser to the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile on the same track on March 2.
"The horse has come up well even though he has been beaten in his two runs this time in, he will still head south for the 'Chariots' and then he will come straight back to prepare for the Winter Carnival here," Dixon said.
Australia’s leading trainer said Tennyson Bromac and Fame Assured could also make the trip south with Colt Thirty One, depending on how they perform in races four and 10 at Albion Park this Saturday night.
"At this stage I'll just take Colt Thirty One and see how the others go. He's up to the 'Chariots' field, but I would liked to have him back winning again," Dixon said.
"But in saying that I wouldn't be going all that way if I didn't think he was a winning show.”
Colt Thirty One resumed from a month's spell with a 10-metre fourth behind Mach Alert at Albion Park on January 19 and then a week later he finished a close-up second behind Slice Of Heaven on the same track.
"He's slowly gearing towards peak condition. I've campaigned horses in New South Wales before and he should be spot on come Chariots Of Fire day," said Dixon.
The talented son of Mach Three and Charm Personified (by Perfect Art) has now won 23 of his 35 starts and placed in seven others for $453,345.
He went 1:53.2 mile rate when winning the Kevin & Kay Seymour Rising Stars Championship C2/3 Final at Albion Park on April 28 last year.
That was an appropriate victory considering their company - Solid Earth Pty Ltd, bred and owns Colt Thirty One.
Colt Thirty One is seventh of nine foals of out of the 2000 maiden Vanston Hanover mare, Charm personified.
His older sister, Charming Allie (by Mr Feelgood) recorded a 1:53.9 mile and won 18 races and $266,329. She also nailed four Group Two races and ran second in the Group One $75,000 Queensland Oaks in 2014.
Colt Thirty One won his first Group One at Albion Park on July 15, 2017 when he was too smart in the $100,000 QBRED 2yo Triad Pace.
He also won the QBRED 3yo Triad a year later under Group Two conditions.
Colt Thirty One also cleaned up a quality Victoria Derby 3yo field at Melton's Tabcorp Park on on January 27 last year. That race was worth $200,000 pocketing his owners a cool $114,000 for that win.
He also placed in the Breeders Crown 2 and 3yo Finals in 2017 and 2018.
“I’d love to win my first Chariots Of Fire and I reckon I’ve got the horse to do it. He’s come up good,” said Dixon, who works a team of between 70 and 80.
Dixon has won Queensland Horse-of-the-Year previously with 2009 Mach Three brown gelding, Majestic Mach (35 wins and $796,397), and 1990 Jeremy Laurence black colt, Jeremy Lee (22 wins and $216,971).
"I was working for Dad (Bill) when he trained Speed Ace (1991 Speed King gelding). He was Queensland Horse-of-the-Year as well. He won 15 races ($130,274)," Dixon said.
"I'm very proud of Colt Thirty One and we are all hoping he can go on with it on the national stage.”